Fine for man who felled protected trees in Bearsden

A MAN has been slapped with a fine for chopping down protected trees.

Douglas Rushforth, of Ledcameroch Crescent, was fined £750 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week.

He felled four trees - a copper beech, a giant fir, a yew and a lawson cypress - in his garden, which is within the Old Bearsden Outstanding Conservation Area.

Rushforth then submitted a planning application for a new detached house, which was subsequently refused.

East Dunbartonshire Council complained and he pleaded guilty to chopping them down without permission and was fined.

Following the unauthorised removal of the trees the council is taking action under a Tree Replacement Notice to have a mixture of replacement trees planted on the site.

The maximum punishment for the offence is a £20,000 fine - and a planning chief said he is sorry Rushforth didn’t get a heavier penalty.

Convener of the Planning Board, Councillor Billy Hendry, said, “The trees within this Outstanding Conservation Area enjoy statutory protection.

“Residents know that and understand the value of that protection in ensuring that their beautiful environment is maintained and preserved.

“The council has a duty to act in cases like this and we will not shy away from doing so.

“While we would have hoped for a steeper penalty, it is satisfying nonetheless that the court has shown that it supports our position.”