Voluntary Protected Tree Register

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In response to declining tree canopy cover on private land, Council is considering introducing a Voluntary Protected Tree Register. Closing date: 12 August 2022 Follow project

Council adopted an Urban Forest Plan to help increase tree canopy cover on private and City land over future decades. A target for the Urban Forest Plan is to increase the tree canopy cover in the City of Stirling from 12.4% up to 18% by 2040.

One action of the Urban Forest Plan is to allow property owners to voluntarily register their trees for protection. The City is undertaking other actions such as street tree planting to reach the 18% tree canopy cover target.

In May 2022, Council considered Scheme Amendment No.113, and Local Planning Policy 6.17 – Protected Tree Register to introduce a voluntary registry of trees worthy of planning protection.

More information on Scheme Amendment No.113 can be found in the 10 May 2022 Council Minutes (Item 12.2/DS2).

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FAQs

What does Scheme Amendment 113 do?

Scheme Amendment No.113 allows the creation of a Voluntary Protected Tree Register, and provides planning protection to the trees on the register.

The amendment also changes some of the existing definitions relating to trees in the planning scheme.  These changes reflect commonly used terminology.

Why is Scheme Amendment 113 being proposed?

By creating a Voluntary Protected Tree Register, the City hopes to reduce the rate of tree canopy loss on private land.

What does Local Planning Policy 6.17 - Protected Tree Register do?

The proposed local planning policy outlines the process for adding or removing trees from the Voluntary Protected Tree Register.

The policy also outlines the requirements for development applications on a property that affects a tree on the Voluntary Protected Tree Register.

What sort of trees are eligible to be added to the Protected Tree Register?

For a tree to be eligible to be added to the Protected Tree Register, it must be of good health and a significant size for the species, such as:

  1. Diameter at Breast Height of the trunk of at least 250mm; or
  2. Canopy diameter spread of at least 10m; or
  3. Height of at least 5m. 1.2m for grass trees.

The tree must be on private land, and the owner must consent to the tree being added to the register and be willing to comply with the required responsibilities.

Additionally, the tree cannot be a weed or pest.

Why can’t I nominate a tree on public land, like in a Park or a Verge?

Trees located on public land are already managed and protected by the City. The exception is where works are undertaken by the State Government, such as road construction.

How will a tree be protected by being on the register?

As part of voluntarily adding a tree to the Protected Tree Register, the owner must consent to care and maintain the tree in line with an independently prepared arborist report. 

This report will identify the works necessary to protect the tree, and works that can be undertaken to the tree.

The owner must also consent to adding a record on the Certificate of Title of the property, so future prospective purchasers will be aware of the planning protection for the tree and their obligation.

What if building works are proposed near a Registered Tree?

Where building works are proposed within the Tree Protected Zone, development approval will be required.

An arborist report may be required to demonstrate how the tree will continue to be viable through and after the works.

What is a Structural Root Zone?

The Structural Root Zone is a measured diameter around the base of a tree where the roots are considered most important to a tree’s stability in the ground.

What is a Tree Protection Zone?

The Tree Protection Zone is a measured diameter above and below ground around a tree where the roots and branches are to be protected for the viability of a tree that is to be retained. The Tree Protection Zone is larger than the Structural Root Zone.

What if a neighbour nominates a tree for the Protected Tree Register and the tree comes into my property?

If your neighbour nominates a tree for the Protected Tree Register there are two scenarios:

  1. The Structural Root Zone goes into your property
  2. The Structural Root Zone does not go into your property.

If the Structural Root Zone of the tree goes into your property, you will be considered a property owner of the tree, and you will also have to voluntarily consent to the tree being added to the register. You will have the same responsibilities as the owner who nominated the tree, such as adding a record to your properties Certificate of Title.

If the Structural Root Zone does not go into your property, you will be consulted with before adding the tree to the register, to see whether it is suitable. Things that will be considered include the likelihood of the Structural Root Zone growing into your property, or the tree causing damage. You will only be responsible for not intentionally threatening the health of the tree.

Who is responsible for a Registered Tree?

The owner, any occupier or any other person in control of the land affected by a Registered Tree.

What about maintenance of the Registered Tree?

If a tree is added to the Voluntary Protected Tree Register, an arborist report will be provided to the owner that outlines acceptable pruning and other works to the tree that can be undertaken without threatening the health of the tree.

If it is identified that further maintenance of the Registered Tree is required, but has not been identified by a City approved arborist report, than approval can be granted by the Tree Assessment Panel.

What is the Tree Assessment Panel?

The Tree Assessment Panel will consist of the Manager of Parks and Sustainability and the Manager of Development Services who will decide whether a nominated tree is added to the register.

The Tree Assessment Panel will also decide whether to modify or remove a tree on the Protected Tree Register.

What about removing a tree from the Protected Tree Register?

The City will only consider removing a tree from the register if it is naturally dead or dying.

The removal of a Registered Tree will not be considered through a development application.

The Tree Assessment Panel will consider applications to remove a Registered Tree from the Protected Tree Register. If a tree is no longer on the Protected Tree Register, it will no longer have planning protection or have the same consideration through development.

Can I nominate my tree now?

No. The City will not be accepting nominations for the Protected Tree Register until the planning legislation has been approved by the Minister for Planning.

What if I buy a property with a Registered Tree on it?

When a tree is added to the register, a condition of its addition is that a notification will placed on the property title.  This means that future land owners will know that the property they are buying contains a Registered Tree.

The responsibility to care and protect the tree rests with a landowner.

Purchasing a property after a tree has been added to the register is insufficient justification for its removal from the register.

How do I make a submission?

  • Online Submissions can be made via the online form.
  • By post Chief Executive Officer, City of Stirling, (Local Planning Policy 6.7 Advertising Signs), 25 Cedric Street, Stirling WA 6021
  • In person During business hours (8.30am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday) at the City of Stirling Main Administration Office located at 25 Cedric Street, Stirling
  • By email development@stirling.wa.gov.au.

Timeline

May 2022

Council resolved to initiate Scheme Amendment

June 2022

Community consultation commences

August 2022

Community consultation concludes

September 2022

Officer reviews comments received during community consultation

November 2022

Council considers outcomes of community consultation

November 2022

Scheme Amendment forwarded to the Minister for Planning for a decision

To be confirmed

Decision from the Minister for Planning received

To be confirmed

Scheme Amendment 113 will come into effect (if approved by the Minister for Planning) and subsequently Local Planning Policy 6.17 will come into effect
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For more information, please contact Travis Wright, Development Services on (08) 9205 8555.

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