Pair ordered to restore damage to environmentally sensitive site

10/07/2012

Two men who damaged a protected woodland at a farm in Llanhaedr in the Vale of Clwyd have been ordered to carry out restorative works at the site, after admitting offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

At a previous hearing, Edward Prys Jones and John Bryn Jones had pleaded guilty to destroying part of a woodland, widening ditches and creating a new track at Llwyn Mawr farm, causing substantial habitat damage. The farm is part of an area protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which marks it as being in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of Wales.

Llwyn Mawr farm damageClose working between the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), North Wales police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) led to criminal proceedings against the two men responsible for the damage.

The case is the first time in Wales that the CPS has taken the lead in a criminal prosecution relating to environmental damage; such prosecutions have previously been led by the CCW.

Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales, Peter Jones, said: "The two defendants were responsible for deliberate and reckless damage to an extremely delicate site.

"The SSSI designation is one of the strongest environmental protection measures we have in this country, which is an illustration of just how important this piece of land is.

"Thankfully, we do not see many cases here that fall foul of Wildlife and Countryside legislation; the vast majority of us who live in Wales are rightly proud of our beautiful environment and are keen to protect it. However, those who seek to damage or destroy protected habitats should be under no illusion that we will pursue them vigorously through the criminal justice system."

CCW Regional Director, David Worrall said: "There are over 1000 SSSI's in Wales and CCW tries to work in partnership with landowners to manage these important sites. We have over 650 Management agreements with landowners, where payments are made in return for positive management. Therefore it is with great sadness that we have had to bring this case to court, because despite our best efforts we have not be able to agree with the owners how this rare habitat should be restored. We are therefore very pleased that Judge Andrew Shaw has supported our restoration order."