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Trees in Parks or on Public Land

Trees in the urban environment are impacted by many influences that could restrict their long-term health and well-being. As trees age they are more likely to cause root damage to property, drop limbs and create trip hazards.

Request to prune/remove trees on public land

As available resources are limited, public trees are inspected primarily on a as need basis. Requests to remove or prune trees are assessed by Councils qualified staff by a visual tree inspection. The assessment is based on:

  • Health
  • Structure, form and age of the tree
  • Potential to cause damage or injury to people or structures
  • Damage caused
  • Compatibility with the surrounding streetscape or landscape
  • Suitability of species to growing space and conditions
  • Heritage or other significance

Where Arboriculture works are identified as being required, an assessment of risk is undertaken. This assessment, based on the consequence and the likelihood of failure allows us to prioritise the work. Works will then be undertaken based on the priority and available resources.

For more information, please contact Customer service at (02) 4560 4444 for a request to prune/remove trees.

The Impact of Public Trees on Private Assets

Assets of the property owner (sewer pipes, storm water plumbing, driveways, retaining walls etc.) are the property owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair.

Legislation recognises that Councils do not have the physical or financial resources to inspect every tree within the Council area on a regular basis. Reliance is therefore placed on the property owner to inform Council where public trees are impacting on private assets to allow Council to assess the situation and take appropriate and timely action concerning the tree, where required. Council generally will not consider any claim for monetary compensation concerning the impact of public trees to private assets.

As outlined in the Civil Liabilities Act, 2002, the Council will only consider claims where it can be shown that the property owner has previously notified the Council that a public tree was impacting on their private asset and Council can be shown to have failed to take appropriate action (taking into account available resources).

All claims with respect to public trees should be made in writing to Council. The risk management team will assess all claims, taking into account the structural integrity, age, maintenance and other relevant factors of the private asset. The onus will be on the claimant to substantiate any claim on Council.

Insufficient Justification for Tree Removal

The following reasons will not be considered when assessing trees for removal/pruning:

  • Leaf, fruit, flower, seed, twig, bark or other litter build-up on private buildings or yards
  • Enhancement of views
  • Improvement of street lighting to private property
  • Proposed erection of a fence or because the tree causes, or will cause, damage to a fence
  • Unidentified bushfire hazard
  • Increase of sunlight to dwellings including solar panels. However, consideration may be given to allow thinning of the canopy in trees on public land to improve the amount of sunlight into dwellings or onto solar panels where:
    • Any thinning of the canopy of the tree will not affect the amenity of the road or recreation space in which the tree is growing;
    • The approved percentage of thinning to the canopy of the tree will not adversely impact on the health and vigour of the tree;
    • All work on the tree is undertaken by a contractor approved by Council;
    • The cost of the work by the contractor is paid by the applicant directly to the contractor.
Street Tree Planting

All requests from the community for new tree plantings on footpaths and reserves will be considered by Council provided the site is suitable and funding is available. All requests needs to be in writing.

Council will consider residents requests to plant their own trees subject to the site suitability and the appropriateness of the proposed new planting. All requests need to be in writing. Watering of the planted tree will be the resident’s responsibility until the tree is established.

Where a tree has been planted in any street or reserve by a resident without Council approval and Council’s relevant officer is of the opinion that the species and/or site of the planting is unsuitable, appropriate action may be taken to have the tree removed or relocated.

Requests for Council to undertake a street tree planting program will be considered in either current or future budgets, subject to site suitability and available funding. When planning new plantings, consideration will be given to planting avenues of trees and/or group plantings.

Page ID: 162510

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