The tree register saga is now at least 15 years in the making. Following the September 2018 report we still are eons away from anything happening. As far as we can tell from council’s published information the eventual tree register will:

  • Only be part of the Local Planning Law and NOT enshrined in the planning scheme. This means that it will not have the necessary clout that the planning scheme could provide.
  • There are no guarantees that this register will even get through to include trees on private land. At the September meeting Strajt and Magee, plus Esakoff’s historical stance, made it absolutely clear that they were opposed to any ‘law’ that pertained to private land. Hence a free pass for continued moonscaping!
  • Nor have we been provided with any information as to how many trees will be on the register; whether council will only include ‘natives’ as stated in their September 2018 list of ‘objectives’; nor whether council will follow the National Trust’s full criteria in assessing any trees. Again the September ‘guidelines’ only referenced ‘large’ trees!

By way of illustrating what can and should be done we highlight recent amendments from Moonee Valley Council. This council has had a register for years. The register has been updated annually, plus it has existed for quite some time as part of its planning scheme. The latest amendment, gazetted recently, takes this a step further by placing an Environmental Sensitive Overlay (ESO) on every tree listed in the register. Whilst removal is still permitted, Moonee Valley has ensured that moonscaping is now much more difficult and unlikely. The ESO ensures that for each tree there will be permanent tree protection zones, regardless of development desires, and that only branches of less than 10cm in width may be lopped by developers.

Glen Eira’s stated proposals don’t come within cooee of such actions!

FYI we’ve provided the following screen dumps from the Planning Panel report which supported council in their endeavours to protect their habitat. Importantly, the imposition on individual landowners and developers was seen as less than the overall ‘community benefit’ to that municipality by the enhanced tree protection!