Trees play an important role in ‘greening’ our urban spaces. It is important to carefully manage this valuable resource and to preserve the existing urban forest within our region.
The impact a single tree may have extends beyond the boundaries of the property it is located on and needs to be considered when making decisions around its management. Much like recycling, with every piece of waste recycled counting towards a greater goal, every tree counts towards our net urban canopy cover.
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 sets out how we are able to preserve trees and vegetation in our local area. Any person acting contrary to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 will be liable to prosecution including
- on-the-spot fines (penalty infringement notices enforced through Revenue NSW). Where there is a breach of development consent (that includes tree removal without consent), fines of up to $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for corporations may be issued.
- court proceedings for the unauthorised damage (including intentional damage) or removal of a protected tree or vegetation. Penalties of up to 10,000 penalty units may apply if dealt with in the Land and Environment Court or up to 1,000 penalty units if dealt with in the Local Court. The 2017 value of a penalty unit is $110.
Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property you may be required to apply for permission from Council.
You can report fallen trees or branches online here, or other urgent/emergency issues about any of our Council trees by calling us on 1300 735 025. Reports on fallen trees or branches requiring emergency work on private land should be reported to the SES on 132 500.
Request tree planting
QPRC is committed to replenishing and developing its urban forest. If you would like a tree or trees planted in a specific location on Council land a request can be made for our consideration.
Requests can be made to Council for the planting of trees in public spaces by contacting Council’s Customer Service team on 1300 735 025 or making a request via email to email@example.com
The three organisations listed below keep registers of consulting and practising arborists. These organisations may be a useful resource when engaging an arborist to assess and report on trees, supervise works on or adjacent to trees, or for professional pruning or tree removal.
QPRC does not endorse or recommend any provider or warrant that any service providers are suitable or appropriately qualified. Individuals and organisations should conduct their own review process before choosing or engaging any listed service provider and do so at their own risk.
Tree replacement policy
QPRC has a policy for replacing trees following their removal. For each regulated tree permitted for removal, one replacement tree of a suitable species is to be planted. In some instances, replacement may not be appropriate or a lesser number of replacement trees will be stipulated, this will be outlined at the time of Tree Removal/Pruning decision.
The replacement trees are to be planted within the property boundary in a location of the applicant's choice.
Consideration should be made when choosing the species and its planting position to ensure a suitable species is being used in an appropriate location. The mature height of the replacement tree species, its suitability to grow in this region and the potential to impact surrounding infrastructure should be considered.
The replacement trees must be nurtured to maturity with correct care and watering.
Council must be advised in writing of the fulfilment of the replacement trees within 12 months of the Tree Removal/Pruning Decision date using the Tree Replacement form.
The Tree Management Officer will be notified and will then undertake an inspection of the new planting to ensure compliance.
Benefits of trees
Trees provide many benefits for tree owners and their neighbours. Trees add value to individual properties and importantly, to the community1. Some of the benefits are as follows2:
- Trees promote well-being – people are happier, experience significantly higher well-being and show significantly lower mental distress when they live in areas with greater amounts of green space.
- Trees improve neighbourhood safety – Residents with higher amounts of nearby nature report fewer violent and minor crimes, and fewer incivilities. Studies show it was measured at 48% fewer property crimes and 56% fewer violent crimes.Trees help children learn – Children with ADHD concentrate better following a 20-minute walk through an urban park compared to built-up treeless areas.
- Trees inspire physical activity – Residents living in areas with more green space are more than three times more likely to be physically active.
- Trees mitigate pollution – Trees combat pollution by reducing noise and improving air quality by filtering dust and chemicals from the air.
- Trees boost the economy – Shoppers claim they spend 9-12% more for goods and services in central business districts having high quality tree canopies.Tree canopies considerably boost the market value of homes and the presence of trees can improve the value of neighbouring properties – Studies show they increase property values on average by 9% but can increase them by up to 15%.
- Individuals living in ‘greener’ buildings reported more social activities, more visitors, knew more of their neighbours and had stronger feelings of belonging.
- Trees reduce heating and cooling costs by providing a thermal buffer and regulating extreme temperatures.
- Trees create a sense of place and sense of scale adding beauty and improving views.
- Trees reduce storm water runoff – trees protect the soil from erosion by binding the soil structure and slowing the movement of water across the surface. Absorbing root systems can help remove soil moisture from the ground and stabilise shifting clay soils.
- Trees provide habitat and a food supply for wildlife, particularly our native animals and insects.
1 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://treeday.planetark.org/documents/doc-752-ntd12-the-benefits-of-trees.pdf. [Accessed 17 November 2015].
2 Jessie Israel, Kathleen Wolf, 2017. Outside Our Doors. 1st ed. Washington USA: The Nature Conservatory.