Fined for axed trees

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A FRANKSTON land owner has a hefty bill to pay after a legal win for council.

Six trees at the land owner’s premises on Hillcrest Road were chopped down without a permit resulting in fines of $6000 plus payment of council’s legal fees after council took legal action.

Frankston mayor Cr Colin Hampton said council understands trees may need to be pruned or removed but it can only be done when necessary and with council approval.

“Illegal tree removal is a problem which has a significant cost to the community through the loss of visual amenity and the many environmental benefits that trees provide such as air purification, important habitat for our fauna, shade, wind-breaks and erosion control,” the mayor said.

“This is an important win for council and should serve as an important reminder to the community to ensure the removal of trees is done only with a valid permit.”

The offender was found guilty in court under the Tree Protection Local Law No 22 that came into force in April 2016 to protect trees on private land.

In some cases under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, criminal conviction can be given for removal, lopping or destruction of a tree protected under a Section 173 agreement, resulting in penalties of up to $190,000.

Anyone witnessing illegal tree removal or vandalism should call council on 1300 322 322 or at frankston.vic.gov.au online.

First published in the Frankston Times – 9 April 2018

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