Firm stumps up for illegal tree-felling

The illegally chopped down trees in Golborne
The illegally chopped down trees in Golborne

A company has been hit with a heavy court fine for the unauthorised axing of large trees in Wigan borough.

LEM Mining and Restoration, based in Heap Bridge Road, Bury, were working on a property in Park Road, Golborne when they felled and lopped four trees without the permission of Wigan Council.

The trees were within the Park Road conservation area which meant the company should have applied for permission and received authorisation from the council prior to carrying out any tree work.

Notice must be given to the council at least six weeks before any work is carried out on trees in conservation areas.

Once alerted by a local resident the council moved quickly to protect remaining trees on site with tree preservation orders.

At Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, LEM Mining and Restoration pleaded guilty of offences under the Town and Country Planning Act and was fined £2,000 per tree along with £470 costs, with total fines and costs coming to £8,470.

Karl Battersby, the council’s director for environment and economy, said: “We are pleased the magistrates have reflected the seriousness of the unauthorised destruction of these trees with heavy fines. This case highlights how important it is for property owners and developers to be aware of their responsibilities if they are planning to carry out work on trees.

“Trees are an important part of our environment and laws are in place to ensure major work on them is not carried out without the necessary checks being made. The council will always work with companies and residents to offer advice, make sure they comply with the law and where possible enable trees to be incorporated in new developments to benefit the overall environment.”

It is possible for residents to get permission to remove trees and shrubs, even from council-owned land. With budgets tight, the authority does not always have money to do it itself, and licences were recently granted to Kitt Green residents to lop overgrown hedgerows that were blotting out sunlight on their gardens. For details visit Wigan Council’s trees, woodlands and hedges webpage by searching “Wigan Council trees.”