A FARMER who was jailed for damaging the river Lugg has again appeared in court - this time for felling a tree.

John Price, of Day House Farm, Kingsland, did not have the required licence when work was carried out in Brimfield between February 14, 2022 and February 21, 2022.

It happened just two months after the 69-year-old used heavy machinery to remove gravel from the river Lugg near his home. 

It was the second occasion that Price damaged the river, with the previous one happening in November 2020. 


For those two offences, the farmer was jailed for 10 months, reduced from 12 months after an appeal. However, he only served less than three months. 

For his latest charge, Price was told to pay a total of £2,060 for the damage caused to the tree. Prosecuting solicitor, Owen Beale told Hereford Courts yesterday (January 31) that a contractor, working on behalf of Price, felled a total 41.7 cubic metres at Ryelands Farm in Brimfield.

Under the Forestry Act 1967, the maximum amount that should be felled, said Mr Beale, is five cubic metres. 

Ledbury Reporter: John Price was fined for felling a tree without a licenceJohn Price was fined for felling a tree without a licence (Image: Hereford Times)

The court heard that records showed that no licence had been issued to carry out the work.

"Heavy machinery was clearly used and will have a noticeable impact on residents," said Mr Beale.

"The tree felled provides a habitual corridor and cannot easily be replaced. It will take between 10 and 50 years to establish a tree of this nature.

"Mr Price must have known what would happen."

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In defence, Adrian Roberts said Price 'did not intend to break any law'.

"The owner of the farm was to sell it and let it to Mr Price," said Mr Roberts.

"He and others were involved in the removal of trees and bushes in February 2022.

"The ground had already been felled and drilled for barley, which needs to be grounded by the end of February or beginning of March.

"Mr Price was, at that stage, being prosecuted by the Environment Agency and Natural England for damage to the river Lugg."

Mr Roberts added that his client has mental health issues - including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

"He accepts there was no detailed planning or a formal agreement," said Mr Roberts.

"He was told 'to get on with it'. His period in prison taught him to sharpen his farming practices. He was separated from his family and farming that he loved. 

"It has badly affected him and his family."

The court heard that, during 2021/22, Price's business made a loss of £800,000; however, he still has an income and plenty of assets.                                             

In delivering their verdict, magistrates told Price that the damage he caused 'was regrettable'.

They fined him £1,750 and told him to pay court costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £175 respectively. 

The whole amount will have to be paid within 28 days.