Large Fine For Cutting Down Protected Trees

If you are looking to have trees taken down, it is always best to call on the services of a licenced tree surgeon. A reminder of this comes with news that an individual received a fine of £4,000 for having protected trees cut down in Fleet. The story is centred on the removal of two trees while a third was damaged, and this took place in December of 2016.

Hart District Council took a local resident to court and it was found that a tree surgeon did more work than what was asked for. However, the tree surgeon couldn’t be found and this meant that the individual involved was prosecuted by the courts, with the fine being placed on the individual. This was a very costly lesson for the individual to learn and sadly, the whole situation could have been prevented if they had hired a licenced tree surgeon.

This led to Cllr Graham Cockarill, who is a Cabinet Member for Planning in the District Council for Hart to release a statement. The main focus of the statement was about how it is vital that people don’t turn to the services of tree surgeons who turn up at their door or who cannot show their credentials. There is always a risk of low quality work or of the work not being insured but in this instance, the biggest risk comes from the fact that sometimes it is impossible to later track down the tree surgeon that carried out the work.

Some research would have saved a lot of trouble

The district council in Hart has an interactive map that people can use to see if the tree they want worked on is in a conservation area or has a TPO. This is great information for people because it means that if you have any doubts or concerns, you can be proactive and check it out for yourself. With this in mind, this sort of issue shouldn’t have arisen. If the tree you are looking for doesn’t have a restriction on it, work can be carried out on it but if the tree you examine is restricted, people should have obtained permission before carrying out work.

Of course, if you are going to have work undertaken without carrying out the proper checks, you leave yourself open to getting into trouble.

There was also the issue about the unlicensed tree surgeon and there was some guidance from Adam Maskill, who is the Tree Officer for Hart District Council. Maskill reiterated the need to ask for qualifications and a copy of the tree surgeon’s public liability insurance. There was also a reminder to the public that in looking to hire a professional, it makes sense to carry out some research and to obtain quotes from three professionals.

Anyone looking for peace of mind when calling on the services of a tree surgeon will find that there is an “Arb Approved Contractor” programme which is run by the Arboriculture Association. At this point in time, this is the most comprehensive accreditation scheme when it comes to tree surgery professionals across the United Kingdom.