Developer fined £15,000 for hedgerow destruction

A housing developer has been fined £15,000 after a hedgerow was unlawfully removed next to a new housing development in Haverhill.

Persimmon Homes PLC was also ordered to pay £902 in costs and a victim surcharge of £181 following a ruling at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Monday, February 17.

The company pleaded guilty to the charge of causing or permitting another person to carry out the removal of the hedgerow on Ann Suckling Lane on March 8, last year, breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

The housing development had been the subject of planning permission with conditions covering tree protection, including the submission of an Arboricultural Method Statement to protect trees and hedges.

West Suffolk Council brought the case against the developer and afterwards said the result sent out a clear warning.

Andy Drummond, cabinet member for Planning and Regulatory, said: “We are very pleased with the result of this court case. The substantial fine and the award of costs reflect the ecological damage inflicted and should send a clear warning to developers and builders that they cannot simply do what suits them. The planning conditions and regulations on hedgerows are there for a good reason, to protect hedges from damage or destruction. We take these matters seriously and as this case proves, we don’t hesitate to prosecute.”

In her evidence, the council’s Trees and Landscape Officer described the “level of destruction” of the hedge as being “alarming”.

Describing the hedge as being “important and ancient and/or species rich”, she went on to say that “…the hedgerow had been destroyed by removal and the work undertaken went far beyond any management or hedgerow maintenance that might otherwise be acceptable and in conformity with the hedgerow regulations.”

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