Media release - issued 10 Feb 2020

Man fined for illegal work on tree protected by TPO

A Hook man found himself more than £1100 out of pocket after he cut branches off a protected tree in Farnborough without permission.

Alan Bahia (41), of Creswell, Hook, admitted lopping a mature oak tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), contrary to Section 210 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, when he appeared before Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Thursday 6 February.

He was fined £92 and was ordered to pay a £32 victim surcharge and £1000 towards Rushmoor Borough Council's costs. 

The court heard that on 2 July 2019, Bahia cut down several branches of a tree that straddled a property owned by his wife in Newton Road, Farnborough and a house next door. During the process the falling branches knocked down a fence at the rear of the property, which runs alongside a public footpath frequently used by children, dog walkers, and cyclists. This was reported to the council.

Although the tree was not cut down, it was damaged, and Bahia had committed an offence by carrying out work on a protected tree without permission from the council.

Bahia admitted working on the tree from the outset and told the court that he did not know that the tree was protected by a TPO.

Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Planning and Economy, Marina Munro, said: "Anyone in any doubt about whether a tree is protected by a TPO should first check with us before they carry out any work.

"This prosecution should serve as a warning that we take the protection of our borough's natural environment, green space and trees very seriously and will not hesitate to take court action if someone flouts the law."

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