Southampton Crown Court today dismissed an appeal by Mr James Barney against the sentence and costs awarded at the Magistrate’s in September for the breach of a Tree Preservation Order at Horton Heath in April 2021.
The fine of £50,000 and costs of £17,841 are now to be paid within six months by Mr Barney and if he fails to pay he could be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Eastleigh Borough Council had secured its largest ever fine and costs of over £68,000 for the breach of the Tree Preservation Order.
The Council successfully prosecuted Mr Barney following unauthorised tree works carried out on trees covered by a Woodland Tree Preservation Order at Scorey’s Copse, Horton Heath in April 2021.
Mr James Barney from Fair Oak who owned the land at Scorey’s Copse, pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in February this year to breaching Tree Preservation Order 839. The prosecution was brought by the Council under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, as Mr Barney had unlawfully cut down a number of trees including oak, ash, birch, hawthorn and poplar within Scorey’s Copse.
Following the incident, reported to the Council in April 2021, the Council took immediate enforcement action that meant all site preparation works were stopped and that no further engineering works could be carried out without the consent from the Local Planning Authority. It also required the tree waste to be removed and that the site should be restored to its previous levels and to a condition which will enable the woodland soils to recover.
Cabinet Lead for Environment Cllr Rupert Kyrle, “I’m absolutely delighted that Southampton Crown Court has dismissed the appeal. Our planning enforcement and legal teams worked together to bring about this prosecution that sends a strong message that you shouldn’t mess with our trees or we will be after you.”