Local authorities should publicise the names of people who breach tree preservation orders (TPOs) to ensure the orders work, Aboricultural Association director Nick Eden has claimed.
He said that unless people know the consequences of cutting down protected trees they will continue to do so. His comments came after 70 trees were cut down on the site of a proposed Tesco superstore in Reading despite a blanket TPO.
The supermarket giant, which co-owns the site with developer KingsOak Homes, faces possible legal action and a fine.
Eden said the local authority must now publicise the action it takes whether cutting is intentional or not. He said: “The effectiveness of an order really relies on people knowing that there is a consequence of breaching TPOs. It all hinges on the planning authorities’ action, and publicising the fact that they take such action.”
The Forestry Commission is also looking into the felling to see if it is excessive without a licence.
A Reading Borough Council representative said: “The council is deciding what action to take and we will make that public once it has been decided.”
The trees included poplars, alders, false acacias, limes, horse chestnuts, cedars and birch.
A Tesco representative told HW that it had no involvement in the felling and that a contractor carried it out for KingsOak, which refused to comment.
* A firm was fined nearly £2,000 for damaging two protected trees in Northamptonshire last year.
* Manchester City Council is looking into the disappearance of protected trees from a garden.
* The Forestry Commission is investigating the felling of hundreds of trees near Peebles in the Scottish borders.
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