Tree Protection

The Town’s urban forest canopy has been in decline for a period of time. To address this loss the Town developed an Urban Forest Strategy to help guide actions to improve this canopy cover and protection going forward. The Urban Forest Strategy identified that one of the single biggest risks to loss of canopy was from development on private land. As a result of this several actions were developed to help protect existing trees, including the need to protect existing trees at development sites.

A report went to Council in May 2023 (Item 11.3) to address a Notice of Motion regarding concerns about the ongoing loss of trees adjacent to development sites, even when protection conditions are placed on development approvals.

The report resolved to create a new role of Tree Compliance Officer, amend the Town’s Policy 100 and to create a suite of new fees and charges to cover the administrative costs, consultant reports and work associated with this new initiative. In April 2024, a further Notice of Motion was approved which reduced the Arboricultural Report and administration fees and absorbed the remaining operational costs. 

Not all charges apply to every development. Small building works such as a rear patio may not be charged any fees at all. Often it is based on the need to use the verge for storage and delivery and/or the risk of impacts to the street tree as a result of development or construction works.

Prior to lodging a Building Application

You must discuss your proposed development with the Town to ensure the public trees adjacent to your site are adequately protected. In most cases this will require an Arborist Report to Australian Standard AS4970-2009 for protection of trees on development sites.

To determine the level impact to the Tree the Town will assess the size of Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) required in line with AS4970-2009 and where there is potential impact within that zone during construction there will be a requirement to pay for the commissioning of an Arboricultural Report by the Town. The approved charges can be found here.

Arboricultural Report

This Arborist Report to Australian Standard AS4970-2009 for protection of trees on development sites is far more comprehensive than that of a standard arborist report because it requires root inspections and review of building plans and methodology to determine the measures necessary to protect the tree(s) for the duration of work. These reports cannot be prepared by tree pruning contractors; they must be undertaken by independent consulting arborists with a minimum qualification to AQF Level 5 or 6 to ensure the report meets the standard required.

The focus of the report is on providing guidance around what can or cannot be done within the Tree Protection Zone of established trees on public land. Often this will include the need to install a Tree Protection Zone compound to keep the rootzone clear of ground disturbing works and risks from contaminants, and the need to maintain the current watering in place to avoid detrimental effects to the tree(s).

The report confirms the tree(s) health and structural integrity prior to the development, which will be cross-referenced at various stages of the development to ensure the tree(s) have been adequately protected and haven’t been damaged.

Compliance Inspections

The Town has a dedicated Tree Compliance Officer who undertakes regular inspections of all active building and development sites within the Town to ensure all the recommendations held within the report are implemented prior to work commencing.

Tree Bonds

The Town will take a secure sum from the applicant as a bond where impacts to the TPZ are potentially identified. The value of this bond is found in the fees and charges section here.

If all actions recommended in the approved Arboricultural Report are followed, then the bond will be returned in full to the applicant. Actions are likely to include (but not limited to) the need to install a protective fence around the TPZ

for the duration of works (refer below image), maintaining current watering regime to the tree TPZ area and no ground disturbing works within the TPZ without the consulting arborist on site to undertake the root pruning required.

Please note that if the Town finds that recommendation are not implemented then it will advise the applicant that the bond will be accessed to fund the works required. For more information about bonds please click here