Wemmergill Moor Ltd, owned by entrepeneur Michael Cannon, was fined £50,000 by Durham Crown Court yesterday for causing damage to part of Lune Forest SSSI. The company was ordered to pay Natural England’s (NE) full costs of £237,548.99 in bringing the prosecution.

The company pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the construction of a track, car park and drainage.

Martyn Howat, NE’s regional director for the north east, said: “Occupiers of SSSIs have a legal responsibility to seek permission from NE about proposals that may damage SSSIs and in this case Wemmergill Moor Ltd failed to do so.”

ST will cover the story in full in next week’s issue.

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