The government is reminding people that they need a licence before any tree can be felled in the island, after a man was prosecuted in court.

Denis Cunningham, 70, from Ramsey, was fined £4,200 after this week admitting six counts of causing or permitting another to unlawfully uproot a tree without a licence at Douglas courthouse - £700 for each tree.

Mr Cunningham was working for someone who planned to install a ground source heat pump in a field near their Lezayre home in November 2020. While the charges focussed on the six largest trees, the government believe more than 30 could have been removed from the field.

Trees in the island are protected under the Tree Preservation Act 1993 and landowners must obtain a licence to cut one down if it is over a certain size.

A license is also required to prune trees that have been registered under the Act.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said: ’While prosecutions are rare, they serve as a reminder that people must first obtain a licence or risk a substantial fine.

’While we support the fitting of ground source heat pumps - anyone wishing to do so must follow the appropriate steps including planning.’

Since the incident Mr Cunningham has been working with government on a replanting scheme for the area where the trees were removed.