The tree in Dent after the work was carried out. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The tree in Dent after the work was carried out. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

Magistrates have fined a woman £2,000 for severely cutting back a healthy tree in a national park conservation area.

Margaret Taylor of High Laning caravan and campsite in Dent, Cumbria, will also have pay the £1,322.50 legal costs of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority plus a surcharge of £170.

Park officers took action against Ms Taylor when a member of the public reported that the 200-year-old sycamore in the village had had its canopy completely removed, leaving only the trunk and core of the tree. In a witness statement to York Magistrates Court, an authority officer said the tree at High Laning would now ‘die slowly’, making the extent of the damage ‘tantamount to felling’.

Ms Taylor admitted an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act. She did not attend Tuesday’s hearing. The tree surgeon who is alleged to have carried out the work has pleaded not guilty and will appear at York Crown Court next month.

The national park authority’s member champion for natural environment Ian McPherson said: “I hope this case serves as a deterrent. Trees in conservation areas are protected, and for good reason.

“The sycamore at High Laning near the centre of Dent village made a significant contribution to the local environment and it is a great shame that it has been lost.”

It is the second time in three months that the authority has brought a prosecution over tree felling. In November, two men pleaded guilty to destroying a tree in the Gayle conservation area in the Richmondshire part of the national park.

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