Pair found guilty of damaging protected oak trees

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Mr Mark William Wright of Abridge and Mr Danny James Swift of Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing, or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Unauthorized works

In June 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified of work that had been carried out to the branches of 2 oak trees on land adjacent to Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex.

Officers were aware in March 2017 permission had been granted for limited work to be carried out to the trees, but upon inspection in June they found branches on both oaks had been far more excessively cut than authorized.

This ultimately caused serious damage to both trees and increases the risk of decay. No consent would have been given for the extent of the work carried out.

Further investigation  

Further investigation revealed that permitted work had been carried out to the trees in May 2017 by council contractors, who had spoken to Mr Wright at that time and informed him that the trees were the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

When interviewed under caution both confirmed Mr Wright had employed Mr Swift to carry out the unauthorized work and that neither had checked with the council as to whether the trees were protected.

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Over £3000 worth of fines

8 February 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates both Mr Mark William Wright of Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex and Mr Danny James Swift of Highfield Road Collier Row Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order without the authorisation of Epping Forest District Council.

Having attended court although leaving before the hearing, the Magistrates accepted that Mr Wright had intended to plead guilty and he was fined £440 for each tree and ordered that he pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

Mr Swift was fined £660 for each tree and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact