Street Tree Maintenance
Street trees require attention in order to maintain their health and appearance, and Council acknowledges that they can create problems by blocking light, hindering access, interfering with electricity lines, etc. In addition to its regular maintenance schedule, Council therefore responds to requests for work on specific trees.
However, given the high number of such requests and the limited staff and resources available, work is prioritised according to urgency. Issues of public safety must, for example, be given more immediate attention than some other matters.
Accordingly, every request for street tree work is placed in one of the following categories:
||Broken branches dangling over footpath
||Branches contacting electricity lines
||Canopy requires thinning or pruning off property
||Pruning for views
Work placed in the Routine Maintenance category will be carried out as priorities allow and the availability of staff and equipment in particular areas. There may therefore be some delay in attending to such requests. However, they remain on record and will be attended to.
Requests to prune trees for the sake of views are generally refused as a matter of Council policy. In some cases, however, the thinning of canopies can achieve a similar result.
To request pruning or removal of trees in streets, road closures, parks or reserves, please either call (02) 9369 8000 or send us a letter or email us.
Many residential suburbs of Waverley enjoy beautiful views of the ocean, Sydney Harbour and the city. Trees on public or private land obscuring these views can be an issue of some controversy in Waverley. Council’s current policy is not to permit the trimming, pruning, lopping or removal of trees in response to loss of views. Council will continue its policy that no individual exclusively owns a view, but rather that the amenity provided by trees outweighs the amenity of views. New planting in public open spaces will consider the impact on views and where possible species will be selected and placed to frame and complement views.
Pruning for health and safety
Pruning is an effective way of eliminating a number of risks including low branches near footpaths and roads, structural defects such as dead braches or other limbs, storm damage, canopy thinning prior to root pruning works and sight lines clearances for signs, traffic lights and street lights. Tree pruning occurs for practical and health and safety reasons, not as a result of aesthetic or cultural delicacy.
Pruning for clearance of electricity wires
Pruning under electricity cables to the minimum clearances is authorised under Section 48 of the Electricity Supply Act 1995 which effectively overrules council-originated Tree Preservation Orders and other environmental planning instruments, but not State heritage or protection orders.
Pruning works within three metres of power lines can only be carried out by suitably qualified personnel and in Waverley’s streets the safety clearance standards are:
- 1.5 metres from low voltage overhead mains, and
- 0.5 metres from low voltage overhead Aerial Bundled Cables (ABC).
Public consultation and notification
Whenever public trees require substantial pruning or removal, particularly if it will affect the visual appeal of streetscapes or adjacent properties, the following process is to be followed:
- Council’s Tree Operation Supervisor will initially assess any request for work on public trees.
- If the request involves the possible removal of a tree/s it is also referred to Council’s Tree Management Officer for assessment and issuing of a permit under the Tree Preservation Order.
If removal is sought or recommended a detailed procedure is followed.
Vandalism of public and private trees not only affects adjacent neighbours but also whole streets and blocks; the wider community also suffers through the gradual attrition of mature trees from the urban landscape. Council presently responds to incidents of tree vandalism by:
- investigating all reports and gathering information
- sending notification letters to residents requesting further information
- erecting signs in streets and parks highlighting the damage
- publicising significant and blatant attacks through local newspapers prosecuting through the courts wherever possible.
Tree vandalism policy
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