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Amended tree protection laws come into effect

23 January, 2014

Amended tree protection laws come into effect

Lord Mayor Graham’s common sense changes to Brisbane’s Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL) will come into effect on 27 January.

The Lord Mayor said the changes had been made in response to community concern the current NALL put the health of protected trees before residents’ safety and their property rights.

The changes include lifting a 20-year ban on residents undertaking minor pruning of Council trees which directly impact their property.

“The changes make it easier for affected property owners to understand what vegetation is protected, which works do not require a permit and which works do require a permit,” Cr Quirk said.

“This is a great result which achieves the right balance between respecting the environment and private property rights.”

About one in eight properties within the Brisbane City Council area have some protected vegetation, including native vegetation communities and individual trees that are significant to the unique landscape character of Brisbane.

All vegetation currently protected under the existing NALL will remain valid and Council will continue to require that any protected trees which are removed be offset with new ones.

Cr Quirk said residents wishing to find out whether their property had a NALL protection on it could contact Council on 3403 8888 or visit a Council Regional Business Centre.

Changes to the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 include:
- Streamlining the number of NALL categories from 11 to four to make it easier for people to understand what protected vegetation they have on their properties and why it is protected. There is no change in the levels of protection and all vegetation currently protected will remain so.

- Removing the requirement for residents to obtain a mandatory aborist report when submitting a permit application to trim a protected tree. This measure could save residents up to $1500. Photographs and other evidence will be accepted in the first instance for examples such as clear storm damage or large falling limbs, with an arborist’s report only required if submitted evidence is inconclusive.

- Providing an additional opportunity for residents and businesses to have NALL permit decisions reviewed a second time.

- Introducing the use of long-term permits for five to 10 years for the management of protected vegetation, to remove the requirement for residents and businesses to apply every time vegetation needs to be trimmed or removed.
[ENDS] January 23, 2014

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