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Gloucestershire Business News

Cotswold resident prosecuted for cutting down apple trees

A Blockley man will have to pay nearly £9,000 after pleading guilty to felling three healthy apple trees without consent.

Yesterday (Monday) at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Mr Ismail Elmagdoub of Bath Orchard, Blockley, near Chipping Campden, pleaded guilty to felling three healthy apple trees without consent from Cotswold District Council.

Mr Elmagdoub was fined £4,224 and ordered to pay an additional £2,970 in costs and a victim surcharge of £1,690, taking the total he has to pay to £8,884.

In March 2023, three healthy apple trees were felled by a contractor organised by Mr Elmagdoub without prior notice to the council, as is required by law.

A witness observed the contractor beginning to cut down the trees and advised the contractor the trees were in a conservation area. Despite raising concerns with the contractor and the homeowner, their concerns were dismissed and the trees were cut down.

The council's tree officer believes the apple trees to have been at least 60 years old and historic mapping indicates the site to have been an orchard from at least 1891. The trees were located within the rear garden of the property, which is situated in the Blockley Conservation Area.

Mr Elmagdoub explained that the fallen apples from the trees were being eaten by his dog which was causing the animal to become unwell and the trees were attracting wasps which were causing issues for his family.

Mr Elmagdoub apologised for the felling of the trees and stated that he 'acted without thought' and that he is keen to work with the council's tree officer.

Robert Weaver, chief executive of Cotswold District Council, said: "Preserving our natural heritage is a shared responsibility, and we encourage residents to engage with us to ensure sustainable decision-making.

"The outcome of this case underscores the importance of engaging with the council to ensure we protect and enhance our shared environment for future generations."

The prosecution was brought by Cotswold District Council's heritage and conservation team with assistance from both the council's counter fraud and enforcement unit (CFEU) and legal service.

More information concerning trees in conservation areas can be found on the council's website.

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