Cockfield man is found guilty of breaching hedge regulations

Have your say

A Cockfield man who ordered a hedge to be removed without permission of the local authority has been fined £270 and ordered to pay £950 costs.

William James Bird, of Parsonage Green, in Cockfield, denied breaching hedgerow regulations when he removed more than 200 yards of hedge on farmland in Panfield Road, Braintree, on June 19.

On Thursday, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court found him guilty of intentionally removing, or causing another to remove a hedgerow.

Bird, who said the land was owned by his son, argued that as it had not been in use for many years the regulations did not apply, but Braintree District Council said it was agricultural land and that they did.

Planning enforcement officer Brian Taplin told the court he went to the land in March after receiving reports about activity on it and arrived to find two men cutting back the hedge.

He returned in June following another report and discovered the hedge had been removed.

He said he also saw a digger and some bonfires.

The driver of the digger was cautioned and Bird, identified as the contractor, was then interviewed.

The court also ordered Bird to pay a £15 victim surcharge.