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Appeal after more than 30 protected trees felled in Freshwater East

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is appealing for information after dozens of protected trees in Freshwater East were illegally felled and abandoned.

The trees, which are mostly ash, sycamore and hawthorn, are part of a woodland which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Most of the trees are owned by the National Park Authority but some belong to a local resident.

More than 30 trees that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) have been illegally felled in Freshwater East. Please note: The tree stumps have been painted red to make them more visible from above © Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
More than 30 trees that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) have been illegally felled in Freshwater East © Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
Video footage taken by a drone from above the site is available​ on our YouTube Channel.

TPOs protect trees for amenity, public enjoyment or their environmental benefit and prohibit changes such as cutting down, topping, lopping or uprooting without permission from the local planning authority.

Park Authority Director of Park Direction and Planning, Jane Gibson said: “We take this type of breach very seriously and local police have already made door to door enquiries. We are appealing for anyone who has information about the felling of these trees to come forward.

“This is the worst breach of a TPO I have ever encountered. Not only has someone felled trees that were protected, they have carried out these unauthorised works on land that didn’t belong to them.

“As the trees have simply been left the Park Authority will have to undertake remedial work to selectively clear, coppice and replant the site at significant cost.

“If you are found guilty of damaging a tree protected by a TPO, you could be hit with a fine of up to £2,500 per tree. Those found guilty of destroying a tree protected by a TPO can be fined as much as £20,000 per tree, although in serious cases the fine can be unlimited.”

The tree stumps have been painted red to make them more visible from above © Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
The tree stumps have been painted red to make them more visible from above © Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Park Authority Warden Manager (South) Tim Jones added: “Many of the trees were located in the Freshwater East Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and local people campaigned long and hard for the TPO in order to protect the woodland from development.

“As the trees have been left on the site rather than taken away to burn for firewood it is unclear why they were felled, but nobody would have commissioned such work unless they stood to benefit from it.”


Appeal after more than 30 protected trees felled in Freshwater East​ © Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

For more information on trees in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, including an interactive map of TPOs, please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/trees.

Anyone with information about the unauthorised felling should contact the National Park Authority on 01646 624800 quoting Planning Enforcement Breach Reference: EC17/0149.

Published 26 January 2018


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