Local fined over £4,000 for felling safeguarded trees

In November 2022, Sharjeel Iqbal from Regent Road, Lostock, orchestrated the cutting down of 11 trees and the deliberate damaging of four more. The area, including the garden at the given address, is home to many trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order enforced by the council.

Chopping down or harming protected trees without the council’s permission constitutes offences under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A complaint was lodged with the council on 17 May 2023, reporting the felling of several trees at the address.

Council officials inspected the location on 23 May and observed that 11 mature trees had been felled, showing no signs of disease or decay. Additionally, four dead trees were discovered to have been poisoned.

Mr Iqbal confessed to paying £2000 to “George”, an individual he had discovered on Facebook, to tidy up and secure the garden area. He admitted to being unaware of the trees’ protected status and acknowledged failing to seek advice from the council.

Appearing at Bolton Magistrates Court on Monday 26 February, Mr Iqbal was fined £1,500 and instructed to cover £2780 in costs. Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Planning, emphasised that felling protected trees without consent is unlawful and can severely damage wildlife habitats while hindering efforts to combat climate change.

Such regulations are designed to safeguard designated trees and prevent their removal or harm without consent from the planning authority. Those with safety concerns regarding trees in their garden or local area are urged to first consult the council’s website.

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