£10,000 fine for developers who undermined protected 120-year-old pine

Developers who undermined a protected 120-year-old pine on a Bristol development site - causing it to need felling - have been fined £10,000.

North Somerset magistrates fined Wills House Restoration £10,000 and ordered the company to pay costs of just under £4,000 and a victim surcharge of £170, while company directors Ben Box-Dossett and Sally Watson were each fined £1,000 with a victim surcharge of £100.

The court heard that in September last year a North Somerset Council tree officer was notified about building work and apparent damage to tree roots near a group of trees in the Bristol suburb of Leigh Woods.

On inspection the officer found that a trench had been dug very close to three mature pine trees covered by a long-standing tree preservation order, leaving the trees likely to to go into decline and at risk of being blown over.

A risk assessment found that one of the trees would have to be felled due to the extent of damage to its roots. When this was done by council contractors in December, a count of growth rings showed it to be around 120 years old.

Box-Dossett admitted having commissioned the trenching works, which had been carried out by his contractor, while Watson confirmed that she had given verbal instructions to the contractor.

North Somerset Council's executive member Cllr Peter Bryant said: "Precautions to protect these trees from damage were not in any way sufficient. Developers need to take their responsibilities seriously and where they fall short we will take action."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Chainsaws and pruning tools

Chainsaws and pruning tools

Selecting the most appropriate equipment for the job is key to getting the best result and there are plenty of new options, Sally Drury finds

Careers profile - Arboriculture team leader

Careers profile - Arboriculture team leader

An arboriculture contractor team leader is the person who, having worked for several years as an arborist/tree surgeon, is the lead climber in a team that is typically made up of themself, a climber and a grounds person.

Careers profile - Local authority tree officer

Careers profile - Local authority tree officer

A tree officer works for a council and is responsible for the care and management of trees owned by the local authority, including trees in public woodlands, parks, country parks and roadsides.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Arboriculture Contracts & Tenders

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources