A man has been hit with a bill of more than £4,900 after felling three protected trees.

Scott Francis, from Little Aston, pleaded guilty at Cannock Magistrates Court to cutting down the trees in his garden.

The English Oak and two Scots Pines were on a Lichfield District Council list of protected trees within the Little Aston conservation area.

The court fined Francis £1,750 with costs of £3,000 as well as a victim surcharge of £175 – a total of £4,925.

Councillor Angela Lax, Cabinet member for legal and regulatory services at Lichfield District Council, said:

“This case shows how seriously the court takes breaches in tree preservation orders.

“Anyone buying property or considering carrying out work to trees, should check with their local authority and whether the property or trees within it are subject to conservation areas or tree preservation orders.

“You can do this by contacting the council who will be able to advise you.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council

People wanting more information on the status of trees can contact Lichfield District Council’s arboriculture team on 01543 308207 or email arboriculture@lichfielddc.gov.uk.


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

13 replies on “Man fined after chopping down protected trees”

  1. That sounds cheap for Little Aston to me ? Let’s hope a respotective planning application goes in now for the area the trees were ? And let’s hope the council tells him to go where the sun don’t shine ?

  2. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!!!! Herein lies the problem, no amount of money will compensate and for some people, maybe this is small change to get what they want

  3. All trees should have more protection in the current climate.
    People should also be rewarded for planting trees, as a way of increasing the tree population.
    All too often, trees are seen as a nuisance and expendable.
    We need to change our attitude towards them

  4. Sends out a good message to would be developers that felling trees to make a building plot wont pay off. The Council must ensure that any future planning application takes into account the protection areas (to BS5837) that the former trees would have presented to ensure that any replanted replacement trees have sufficient space to develop and continue to be the amenity features that the Tree Preservation Order was there to protect. A word to local people who are concerned is to keep any eye on the local planning applications and flag this up to the Council if the person concerned makes any sort of planning app. This is a criminal action, usually taken for monetary gain and its important for the community that persons who do this shouldn’t get away with it a few years later – £3 or 4 grand fine which effectively might facilitate a development is nothing, so the real test is to prevent them getting any sort of planning permission at any time – even years later – after the felling. Magistrates can put a commentary onto such a conviction that helps to prevent this sort of thing and they should routinely do so – I hope that they did in this case

  5. Hmmmm….. Slight irony when the council sanctions the building on every blade of grass, even green belt, without regards to the consequences. This, of course, does not excuse the selfish act of Scott Francis it jusy illustrates that vandalism comes in many guises.

  6. TPO,s can’t be put on trees on council owned land or on that owned by government departments. Only placed on private trees or woodland. Once on they are there forever and a dead or tree felled by wind has to be replaced.

  7. I have a case in my ward where a developer has been given permission to fell a tree despite it being covered by a tree preservation order and despite residents and the ward councillors objecting (https://planning.lichfielddc.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=Q074LOJEIPI00&activeTab=summary).

    I wish I understood the distinction, but it would seem that some TPOs are considered to be more important than others.

    The other issue is development work and the impact on root protection areas which doesn’t always seem to be determined in line with the relevant British Standard.

    I hope that now LDC has declared a climate emergency, objections to proposed tree destruction will be given more weight and LDC won’t be as quick to grant permission. People making a lot of noise and emailing their councillors may help. Equally, people applying for more trees to be subject to TPOs may also show the level of concern. Details of how you can seek for trees to be the subject of a TPO are on this link: https://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/countryside-2/protected-trees/1. You don’t need to be the tree’s owner to apply!

    Joanne Grange
    Independent Councillor for Chadsmead

  8. How many trees are felled on council land,that includes road side trees on pavements. A prime example of that was in Sheffield.

  9. Chump change for a little Aston resident. Further action should be taken for the trees to be replaced by those large pot grown trees at this residents expense and any structure constructed where they were to be demolished for the purpose of restoring the site to its previous state

  10. Pierre it would mean large parts of council or government land to be included but as I said you can’t get a TPO on that. So local authority and government can do what they like but Joe public can’t. It will get worse under our new dictatorial government

  11. My daughter has a protected oak in the corner of her garden. She had to put in planning permission just to cut it back a little as it was getting too high. This was granted and council came out to see that she had abided with the order. Few weeks later developers bought land at the back but Lichfield Council granted them permission to cut back as far as they wanted and even cut roots!! It is her tree so she is liable if anything happens to it even if it’s the developers fault! One rule for the owner but developers can do what the want. It is totally unfair

  12. Thomas, actually it is Lichfield’s tree officer who can do what he wants. The system works like this,the developer will put in an application to work on the tree.the tree officer will come and look then advise the councilors. They will approve or disapprove the request. I know all this from having studied what happened when a wood owned by a friend had a TPO put on it

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