EUR 24,000 fine imposed for cutting protected tree

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The court has imposed nearly €24,000 in fines to an arborist for the destruction of a great linden tree, said Ilze Reinika, senior communications specialist of the Nature Conservation Agency (DAP) on January 16.

In 2019, Andris Griģis, owner of Vaiņode/Lielbāta manor palace turned to the municipality of Vaiņode with a request for the removal of a linden in the manor park, which had become a hazard. Given that the linden was registered as a protected tree, only DAP could authorize its felling.

Given that the tree was approximately 200 years old, scenically and ecologically valuable, had a conservation status and had protected beetles living in it, the DAP expert prohibited cutting the tree and recommended that the tree be trimmed, reducing the crown of the tree by 40-50%. 

The palace owner entrusted the trimming to the arborist, who cut the top off, leaving an eight-meter-high stump. The DAP turned to the police who conducted an investigation. In the fall, the criminal case reached court which found the arborist guilty and applied a €23,650 fine and 180 hours of community service.

Reinika said that the arborist has appealed the judgment and the criminal case will be re-examined by the court in mid-February. In accordance with the regulatory enactments, the maximum penalty for the destruction of a tree shall be 50 minimum monthly salaries.

In October 2022, a similar fate awaited a great oak in Mārupe, where it had apparently disturbed the building of an apartment house. The guilty parties are still being sought.

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