Mr John Ruane of Chardingleye Lane, Great Amwell, and Ruane Developments Ltd of College Farm, Hertford Heath, were charged with two offences for work on trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).
Mr Ruane and Ruane Developments pleaded guilty at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on 24 February to two charges; the first charge related to unauthorised works on nine lime trees in breach of the TPO and the second to carrying out unauthorised works on 31 lime trees in breach of permissions granted by the council and the TPO. The defendants were ordered to pay a combined total of £4,250 in fines, £2,822 in costs and a victim surcharge of £1,700.*
In passing sentence, the court gave credit for the guilty pleas and to both defendants for cooperating with the council and court.
Councillor Jan Goodeve, Executive Member for Planning at East Herts Council, said: "TPOs are in place to protect the trees that are extra special, either because of their visual appeal or environmental benefit. That is why anyone considering work on protected trees must go through the right process and make sure they understand the limitations of any consent granted.”
"I hope this prosecution and hefty fine sends a strong signal that we will not stand by when someone ignores important rules and threatens the environment we work hard to protect."
For more information on TPOs, visit: www.eastherts.gov.uk/planning-and-building/trees
*Mr John Ruane:
• Charge 1 - £1000 (unauthorised works to 9 lime trees in breach of Tree Preservation Order No.6 2020)
• Charge 2 – £750 (unauthorised works to 31 lime trees in breach of consent granted and Tree Preservation Order No.6 2020)
• Costs £1411.00
• Victim Surcharge £700
Ruane Developments Ltd:
• Charge 1 - £1500 (unauthorised works to 9 lime trees in breach of Tree Preservation Order No.6 2020)
• Charge 2 - £1000 (unauthorised works to 31 lime trees in breach of consent granted and Tree Preservation Order No.6 2020)
• Costs £1411.00
• Victim Surcharge £1000