Formal caution for unauthorised tree pruning

15 April 2014

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Woking Borough Council has formally cautioned a local Woking man and his arboricultural contractor for the unauthorised pruning of a protected mature oak tree.

Mr Kevin Shaw from Horsell and, his arboricultural contractor, Mr Ben Davies of Ace Arboriculture, Addlestone, were both formally cautioned by Woking Borough Council on Tuesday 18 February and Tuesday 11 March respectively, following the unauthorised pruning of a mature oak tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) at a private residential property in Horsell.

Under Section 210(4) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, any person who lops or prunes a protected tree is guilty of an offence and on summary conviction can be fined up to 2,500.

The healthy mature oak was pruned at the instruction of Mr Shaw by Ace Arboriculture on Friday 6 September 2013. As the tree was protected by a TPO, the owner should have sought prior permission from the Council before carrying out any works to the protected tree. Depending on the circumstances, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, both the resident and contractor are liable for prosecution.

Mr Shaw and Mr Davies accepted that they had committed a criminal offence, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and have both agreed for a record of the caution to be kept on file by Woking Borough Council.

The caution will be taken into account if any similar offences are committed by Mr Shaw or Mr Davies in the future.

Commenting on the case, Woking Borough Council's Planning Development Manager, Chris Dale, said: "Tree Preservation Orders are designed to protect healthy and visually prominent trees. Despite the decision not to formally prosecute the pair, this case sends a clear message to others that the Council will not hesitate to take action where necessary."

Anyone considering works to protected trees should contact Woking Borough Council's Arboriculture Services on 01483 755855 or visit for more information. Anyone wishing to check whether a TPO protects a tree on their property, can do so online by typing their address details into the `Your local services' area on the Council's homepage. This part of the website provides vital information on residents' property, plus neighbourhood services and refuses collections.