Council cracks down on illegal tree work

Torbay Council has warned that anyone in the Bay carrying out illegal tree work may face prosecution. The warning comes following three recent cases where tree work has been carried out illegally by local residents all of whom have been issued formal cautions by the council.

The offences affected trees on private property across various locations in Torquay and included damage to the roots of Pine trees and cutting down a Yew tree and Holme Oak.  On a further occasion branches were lopped from a Cedar tree that was not only in a conservation area but had a Tree Preservation Order on it.

Executive Lead for Tourism and Environment Cllr Jeanette Richards, said:  "The trees around the Bay play a huge role not only within the environment but also in terms of of the quality of life for our residents and visitors. Whilst the illegal tree work has been carried out on private properties we are the enforcement authority and take our responsibility very seriously. Consideration was given to seeking a conviction at the Magistrates Court where if convicted people could be liable for a fine of £20,000 as well as a criminal record.  However, the decision was taken to issue formal cautions on these occasions and details of the offences will be held on record and a more serious course of action will be taken if further illegal work is carried out."

Anyone who is planning to carry out tree work on their property and would like to check whether they are covered under a Tree Preservation Order or are within a Conservation Area can contact the council's Natural Environment Services on 01803 207797.