Developer fined £300,000 for felling protected trees

A developer has been fined £300,000 for felling a wood covered by a tree preservation order, including a 90-foot tall giant redwood believed to be 176 years old.

Property tycoon Fiorenzo Sauro was found guilty, earlier this week, of ordering the destruction of 72 protected trees near Swansea and fined £180,000. 

His company, Enzo Homes, was fined £120,000 for contravening a tree preservation order under S210 (1)(A) and (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

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Town and Country Planning Act 1990

In force/
Current
Legislation
England, Wales
Published
03 Mar 2016

Commentary

07/07/2015 Amending Act (Planning (Wales) Act 2015) published., 27/10/2015 Amending Order (WSI 2015/1794) published., 22/02/2016 Amending Regulations (WSI 2016/53) published, in relation to Wales only., 27/04/2017 Amending Act (Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017) published.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance Dates

24/05/1990 Received Royal Assent

Characteristics

Subject

Land and development

Source

OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

Affected Sectors

Mining and Quarrying Construction
ECM

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Document Status: In force/Current

Scope: England, Wales

Commentary:

07/07/2015 Amending Act (Planning (Wales) Act 2015) published., 27/10/2015 Amending Order (WSI 2015/1794) published., 22/02/2016 Amending Regulations (WSI 2016/53) published, in relation to Wales only., 27/04/2017 Amending Act (Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017) published.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance:

24/05/1990 Received Royal Assent

The company and Sauro will collectively need to pay £15,000 in legal costs. 

Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard that in November last year, the trees were illegally felled in Swansea's Penllergaer Valley Woods, in Penllergaer, to make way for 80 homes. This included a giant redwood planted in 1842 by the botanist John Dillwyn Llewelyn.

Swansea Council, who had originally sold the land to Enzo Homes for development, pursued Sauro and his contractor through the courts. 

Arwyn Morgan, a self-employed tree-surgeon paid by Sauro to fell the trees, pleaded guilty to contravening a tree preservation order and was also fined £120,000. 

Morgan must pay £2,000 in legal costs. 

Enzo Homes told ENDS that it is planning to appeal the court’s decision.

Read More: 7 of the year's most remarkable examples of wildlife destruction 

Mark Thomas, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management, said that the legal outcome reflected the work the council had undertaken to investigate the “environmental crime.”

He said: "In monetary terms, these trees held a significant value but no amount of money or fine can replace the value of the trees in terms of what they mean to the community and Swansea as a whole.”

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