Builders ordered to replant 70 trees after they axed Lenzie woodland site

A representative of the Forestry Commission surveys the damage after the tree felling
A representative of the Forestry Commission surveys the damage after the tree felling

Builders have been threatened with prosecution if they fail to replant dozens of trees they tore down at a woodland site in Lenzie.

Scotland’s Forestry Commission issued the warning to Muir Homes after reading a report in the Herald a few weeks ago.

Before

Before

Over a three-day period, Muir felled 73 mature trees at the site at the junction of Initiative Road and Garngaber Road without permission.

If the builders fail to replant the area of woodland, they face a fine of up to £2,500.

The developers axed the trees despite being denied planning permission in 
November by East Dunbartonshire Council to build seven houses next to the Larkfield Centre.

The builders have lodged an appeal which is due to be heard next week.

After

After

In a letter to the company, the Forestry Commission’s woodland officerJulie Paton told them they were in breach of the Forestry Act 1967.

She added: “The Forestry takes a serious view of any offence against the felling licensing requirements of the Forestry Act.

“In addition, I would draw your attention to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 as amended which greatly increased the maximum penalty under the Forestry Act for illegal felling to £2,500 or twice the value of the timber felled, whichever is the greater.

“We would request that the area of woodland that has been felled be replanted. This planing should be composedof 50 mixed broadleaf saplings to include alder, silver birch, hawthorn, willow and a suitable ash alternative species spaced evenly across the area of felling.”

The trees should be maintained for a period of at least 10 years.

Muir have also been warned if they carry out any future felling without consent, they face being reported to the procurator fiscal.

Protestor Alice May of Seven Sisters said: “We are extremely grateful to the Forestry Commission for standing up to the developers who removed seventy trees on a plot of land where they had been denied planning permission.”

“We are still waiting for East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning department to explain why they didn’t ensure that the developers had the appropriate felling licences. We repeatedly drew their attention to the situation when there was still time to save the trees.”

When the Herald contacted East Dunbartonshire Council during the felling of the trees, planning chiefs said they were powerless to stop the felling.

Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive said at the time: “The council’s planning service has confirmed that the trees within the site are not subject to a Tree Preservation Order or within a conservation area, therefore the landowner does not require planning permission to cut them down.”

The Herald is waiting on a response from the council on the latest developments.

So far, the Herald has also been unable to obtain a comment from Muir Homes about the tree felling.