Man fined £450 after flattening Gubber Hill woodland
Hamish Hutchinson • Published 8 Aug 2012 09:30
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Crime scene: The appearance of travellers caravans at Gubber Hill had also caused concern
£2.12 for every tree...
A LANDOWNER has been fined for illegally felling more than 200 trees in woods near Lornshill Academy.
Charles Codona (48) cut down 150 mature sycamore trees and 62 much older mature oak and sycamore trees at Gubber Hill.
Forestry Commission officers estimated the minimum value of the trees, if used for fire wood, at £1400.
The deforestation was first spotted by a dog walker and reported to Clackmannanshire Council on 1 April last year.
Council and Forestry Commission officers investigated and found the accused instructing two men in the felling of the trees at the site.
Codona was told to stop and admitted he did not know he needed a licence to cut down the trees.
The next day the officers returned and found the tree felling had continued and some trees had been buried at the site.
Last Tuesday Codona, of Glasgow, pled guilty to the deforestation of 0.34 hectares without a licence on 1 April last year, and was fined £450.
The deforestation contravened the Forestry Act 1967, sections 9(1) and 17.
Craig Harris, head of the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit at the Crown Office, said, "The woodland where Charles Codona illegally felled more than 200 mature trees was a popular area for dog walkers and well used by local residents.
"His actions have significantly changed the appearance of the area."
Although there are certain circumstances where a landowner does not require a licence to fell trees on his own land, Mr Harris said the number of trees felled by Codona was far in excess of what can be permitted without a licence.
In addition it is "highly unlikely" that the Forestry Commission would have consented to a licence as the area is part of a significant broadleaved woodland used by the public, and the trees were felled within birds' nesting season.
Mr Harris added, "Anyone wishing to fell a number of trees on their property should seek advice from the Forestry Commission, as a licence is often required.
"Environmental laws - including the Forestry Act - exist to protect Scotland's rich natural heritage and prosecutors will continue to take a
robust approach to anyone ignoring them."
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 08 Aug 12
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