A landowner and contractor who illegally felled more than 270 protected trees have been ordered to pay in excess of £255,000 by a judge.
The order has come after a lengthy investigation and prosecution brought by Enfield Council planning enforcement officers.
Ali Matur, who owns the land at the Clay Hill conservation area (EN2 9JB), Bush Wheeler Services Limited, the contractors who carried out the work and Robert Bush, director at the company pleaded guilty on 25 February 2021 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court for charges related to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
On 23 February 2023, the three defendants were ordered to pay more than £255,000 at Wood Green Crown Court.
The Judge fined Ali Matur £73,700 and Robert Bush and Bush Wheeler Services Limited as a company were fined £2,177.50 each.
In addition, Ali Matur was ordered to pay £100,000 in confiscation monies under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Robert Bush and Bush Wheeler Services Limited were ordered to pay £5,200 in confiscation between them.
The three defendants were also ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £72,083.85.
The illegal activity was discovered in early January 2019 by members of the public walking in Hilly Fields Park. All works on the site were stopped instantly and a prosecution was brought by the Council.
The trees, covered by a Tree Preservation Order and within the Clay Hill conservation area, were situated on land known as ‘Kingswood’ in Clay Hill in Enfield and were felled between late December 2018 and early January 2019.
The trees felled included yew, hawthorn oak, ash, spruce, willow and poplar and were predominantly located in the bottom south east corner of the grounds and were clearly visible from Hilly Fields Park.
The Council has served a Tree Replacement Notice under the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012.
The notice requires the replanting of 284 trees at the site which includes oak, sweet chestnut, hornbeam, silver birch, field maple, cherry, scots pines, Corsican, pine and Norway Spruce. This is subject to an appeal by Ali Matur.