UKTC Archive

Successful Prosecution

Subject: Successful Prosecution
From: Howe, Ron
Date: Jan 18 2019 09:33:15
[cid:image001.png@01D4AF10.C58767B0]Press Release

January 2019


Charges Successfully Brought Against Developer for Destroying Trees

Mole Valley District Council's commitment to vigilantly uphold the district's 
environment and natural beauty has seen the successful prosecution of a 
Weybridge-based developer for uprooting and destroying trees without 
permission in the Dorking Conservation Area.

Following the conclusion of a thorough investigation into the actions of the 
developer by the Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) Enforcement Team, a 
District Judge sentenced Runneymede Homes Ltd, to a £15,000 fine and ordered 
them to pay the Council's costs at Brighton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 15 
January 2019. The Director of the developers, Mark Knight, had already 
pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in May 2018, to three charges 
relating to the trees, at the same location six months earlier.

Having been caught ripping up three Beech trees from the Conservation Area in 
Dorking without seeking advice or permission from MVDC in late summer 2017, 
representatives from Runneymede Homes Ltd were formally interviewed under 
caution by MVDC officers shortly after. The unauthorised removal of the trees 
to the rear of the White Horse Hotel in Dorking took place in preparation of 
nine new homes being built on the site.

Runneymede Homes Ltd defended their actions by arguing that the trees in 
question had become dangerous after the removal of the bank the trees had 
occupied. The developer had however elected not to contact MVDC ahead of 
undertaking this work, and did not consider the consequences of their 
actions. Runneymede Homes has since planted new, smaller trees along the top 
of the reformed bank although, the Council has not yet agreed the details of 
the replanting.

Councillor Chris Hunt, Cabinet Member for Planning Services and Housing, 
said: "Land owners, developers and contractors alike have a duty to conserve 
protected trees and comply with the tree protection regulations by seeking 
advice from us and take necessary precautions. We treat the unauthorised 
destruction of protected trees very seriously. In addition to being a 
criminal offence, the removal of mature trees can cause significant harm to 
the character of the district. We will always seek to take legal action where 

Ron Howe
Tree Officer (Planning)
Mole Valley District Council
Tel. 01306 XXX XXX

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