LANDOWNERS who illegally chopped down a mature tree in a conservation area have been prosecuted and fined more than £2,400.

Neil Dinsdale of Bainbridge and Edward Fox of Hawes, entered guilty pleas at York Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning, after being charged with unauthorised destruction of a tree.

The Northern Echo:

The view before the tree was illegally felled

The pair were prosecuted after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority discovered a perfectly healthy sycamore tree on Gayle Lane was felled in April this year.

The court heard how Dinsdale had claimed he had been advised to remove the tree, as it might have restricted future development of the land.

Dinsdale and Fox were both fined £250 each for breaching section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act, while they were ordered to pay the full legal costs incurred by the planning authority, amounting to £2,400.

In response, Jim Munday of the park authority, said: "Local people in Gayle and Hawes were upset by the totally unnecessary felling of this healthy mature sycamore tree.

"It was part of the character of the area and greatly enhanced the local environment.

"I hope this case serves to underline that trees in conservation areas are protected – and that the Park Authority will prosecute landowners who cut them down without any consultation or consideration.”

  • Edward Fox did not appear at court.