York Crown Court has fined Dent tree surgeon Ian Middleton £700 for carrying out unauthorised works to a healthy and prominent 200-year old tree in the Dent conservation area.
Middleton was also ordered to pay costs of £1,300 to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which had brought the prosecution after carrying out a planning enforcement investigation prompted by a complaint made by a member of the public.
Middleton had entered a not guilty plea at York Magistrates’ Court on 14 January, when his co-accused, Margaret Taylor of High Laning caravan and campsite in Dent, admitted breaching section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act and was fined £2000 plus costs. However, he pleaded guilty at the Crown Court last week (Mon 17 February 2020).
A National Park Authority spokesperson said: “The Crown Court judge made clear that Ian Middleton was misled by Margaret Taylor into thinking that the work on the tree was permissible. However, the judge also pointed out that Dent was a well known conservation area and that Mr Middleton should have known that checks were needed before carrying out any work.”