A MAN who cut down trees in a protected woodland has been fined £20,000.

Peter John Welch, 71, from Newport, was prosecuted by the city council for defying a tree preservation order in the Cefn Mably area.

Officers investigated after becoming aware that trees covered by a tree protection order in the west of the city had been felled without permission.

As well as being fined £20,000, Welch was ordered to pay £1,500 costs and a £190 surcharge following a sentencing hearing at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court.

The defendant, of Cefn Mably, pleaded guilty to contravening the provisions of a tree preservation order between July 2013 and September 2021.

Following the hearing, Cllr Yvonne Forsey, cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, said: “I’m pleased that this investigation into illegal tree felling has resulted in a successful prosecution and a significant fine.

“It demonstrates that we take such incidents very seriously.

“Trees are protected for very good reasons and their importance to the environment is well known so there is no excuse for blatantly disregarding tree protection orders.”

Cllr James Clarke, cabinet member for strategic planning, regulation and housing, added: “This was an excellent example of departments working together.

“In this case planning, countryside and legal officers combined to achieve this satisfactory result.

“Although, sadly, those trees are now lost, I hope this case sends a message to others that tree preservation orders should not be ignored or there will be consequences.”