A property developer and his firm have been fined a total of £300,000 for ordering a 176-year-old giant redwood be cut down for new homes. Fiorenzo Sauro, 49, of Enzo Homes Ltd, paid to have 70 protected trees chopped down in Penllergaer, Swansea, in 2018.
The tree contractor who carried out the illegal felling was fined £120,000 for destroying the ancient woodlands.
Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard the 90ft tree was worth about £66,000 but in reality, was “irreplaceable”. The court heard a Tree Preservation Order had been put in place to protect the redwood tree at the site.
Swansea council’s tree officer Alan Webster said he had visited the site in November after a local councillor contacted him to say the rare redwood had been felled the day before. During the trial, Sauro claimed the felling was an accident – but a judge ruled he “deliberately” ordered it to be chopped down to make way for 80 new homes. Enzo Homes was fined £120,000 while Sauro was fined £180,000. The self-employed contractor, Arwyn Morgan, pleaded guilty to contravening a tree preservation order after initially denying the charge. He was fined £120,000.
District Judge Neale Thomas said: “It is inconceivable on this evidence the felling of this tree and the ancient woodland was done in any other way than deliberately. “There would have been discussions about how it was to be done, permission obtained to remove the fence and any other preparatory work.” Arwyn Morgan was contracted by Enzo’s Homes Ltd to carry out the felling.