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Natural England: We are disappointed the woodland "was so severely damaged"

"Legal action is always regrettable and we were disappointed that a woodland of such ecological importance and one that was very special to the local community, was so severely damaged.

'We work with landowners across the country to ensure that such special areas of our natural heritage can be protected.

"We welcome the fact that Mr Day has undertaken a programme of voluntary restoration and hope that he will now work with us to manage this special area more appropriately in the future."

– Janette Ward, Natural England's regulation director


Response: Tycoon will appeal

"As acknowledged by the judge in this case, Philip Day did not deliberately set out to damage a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

"Mr Day is passionate about the countryside and committed to conservation. He was shocked to find that damage had been caused to the site by contractors.

"As soon as he became aware of this, he worked closely with Natural England to carry out a full restoration programme, which was completed over two years ago.

"Mr Day intends to appeal against the sentence. The fine is nine times the amount imposed for previous similar offences."

– Spokesperson for Philip Day

Business tycoon fined over woodland damage in Cumbria

A business tycoon has been ordered to pay almost £1 million in fines and costs after damaging ancient woodland on his land in Cumbria.

A court heard how Philip Day, owner of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain of shops, had tried to use the "power of his wealth to avoid responsibility".

Mr Day has been fined £450,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £475,000. His own defence legal costs are not known.

Mr Day, 47, whose firm has a turnover of £240 million, admitted two counts of damaging Gelt Woods, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Natural England, a quango with responsibility to protect the environment, brought the prosecution after it said he caused unauthorised damaging work to be carried out on the site, which is protected.