More than 300 trees were illegally felled in a north Norfolk village, a Forestry Commission investigation has revealed.
Two officers from the commission inspected the cleared land at Oulton Airfield, near Blickling, owned by Bernard Matthews, on February 27 after concerned villagers alerted the organisation.
Steve Scott, area director for the Forestry Commission in the East and East Midlands, said: “We can confirm that the felling had taken place without a licence being in place. We have informed the owners that we intend to issue a restocking notice.”
The notice means Bernard Matthews would have to replace the trees by spring next year.
He added steps could be taken to reinforce the order by the commission, if it was not followed.
Mr Scott said more than 300 trees were cut down and were a mixture of broad leaf specimens and conifers and the commission would advise Bernard Matthews about which trees should be replanted.
Oulton residents said the specimens were planted after Broadland District Council’s planning committee insisted in 1991 that new turkey sheds, put up at the time, should be screened.
They were “outraged” after the trees were removed and were concerned it was part of Bernard Matthews’ unpopular 80m-high wind turbine application, submitted to Broadland District Council.
The cleared area is next to a proposed site on land between the Blickling and Heydon conservation areas.
Oulton homeowner Daisy Turville-Petre said: “We welcome the decision but it doesn’t take away what Bernard Matthews has done, which is to fell nearly 350 healthy trees needlessly without a licence.”
A Bernard Matthews spokesman said: “We accept an administrative error was made regarding the acquisition of a felling licence and will comply with the Forestry Commission’s judgment.”
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