Land owner, 2 others fined £255,000 for illegally cutting down over 270 protected trees in Clay Hill

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ENFIELD – A court has issued a fine of £255,000 to a landowner and contractor who admitted to unlawfully cutting down over 270 protected trees.

Enfield Council’s planning enforcement officers pursued an investigation and prosecution, leading to the court’s decision.

On 25 February 2021, Ali Matur, the landowner of Clay Hill conversation area, Robert Bush, the director of Bush Wheeler Services Limited, and the contractor who conducted the work, all pleaded guilty to charges related to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

The Wood Green Court issued a ruling on 23 February, 2023, requiring the three defendants to pay over £255,000.

The landowner, Ali Mutur, was fined £73,700, while The Bush Wheeler service and Director Robert were each fined £2,177.50.

The court has ordered Ali to pay £100,000 in confiscation fees under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Meanwhile, Bush and Bush Wheeler Service were collectively fined an extra £5,200 in confiscation fees.

In addition, the court has ordered the three defendants to pay the Council’s costs, which amount to £72,083.85.

Clay Hill in Enfield
Clay Hill in Enfield. Image credit: Enfield Council

The defendants’ illegal activities were brought to light in January 2021 when members of the public walking in Hilly Fields Park reported them to the Council.

Consequently, all work on the site was immediately stopped, and charges were filed against the defendants.

The southeast corner of Kingswood in Clay Hill Enfield once housed several trees, including yew, hawthorn oak, ash, spruce, willow, and poplar, all of which were protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Despite this protection, the trees were recklessly cut down between December 2018 and early January 2019. As a result, the Council issued a Tree Replacement Notice under the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012.

284 trees, including oak, sweet chestnut, hornbeam, silver birch, field maple, cherry, scots pines, Corsican, pine, and Norway spruce, need to be replanted at the site. Ali Matur has the option to contest this decision.

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