Man fined for illegal work to protected tree

A man who cut branches off a protected tree in River Road, Taplow, without Council permission is more than £1,000 out of pocket following court action.

Nicholas Joys (46), of Owlsmoor, Sandhurst, appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on Wednesday (5 August) and admitted lopping a mature oak protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), contrary to planning regulations.

The court heard that on or before 3 February 2020, Mr Joys, cut down several branches of a tree in the front garden of a house fronting the River Thames in Taplow. After the matter was reported to Buckinghamshire Council, officers attended the property and stopped further damage being carried out to the tree. Mr Joys was later interviewed under caution and summoned to court.

Although the tree was damaged, and not felled, Mr Joys had still committed an offence by carrying out work on a protected tree without permission from the Council, magistrates were told.

At the hearing , Mr Joys admitted working on the tree from the outset and told the court that he had no knowledge of trees and in future would seek professional help.

The court fined Mr Joys £553 and ordered him to pay a £55 victim surcharge as well as £420 towards the Council’s legal costs.

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement, Warren Whyte

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement, Warren Whyte said: “This prosecution should serve as a warning to others that we take the protection of our natural environment, green space and trees very seriously and will not hesitate to take court action if someone flouts the law. Ignorance is not a defence in these matters and anyone who is in any doubt about whether a tree is protected should first check with the Council before they carry out any work.”