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City moves to address declining tree canopy

Posted on January 25, 2018

Developers in the City of Bayswater may soon be required to plant trees on privately owned land as infill development across the metropolitan area has left Councils facing a decline in canopy cover.

Bayswater Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish said that with housing densities in Perth increasing through infill development, the associated loss of tree canopy cover that results needs to be addressed.

"Research indicates that the highest area in which tree canopy cover is being lost is in urban areas on private land and this is due to urban infill and the tendency to build bigger houses on subdivided blocks," he said.

"Our recently released Urban Forrest Strategy put our tree canopy at 13.2 per cent. This is something we are trying hard to tackle. We have set an aspirational target of 20 per cent by 2025 and have taken active steps to achieve this goal.

"Last year we doubled our investment in street tree planting and planted over 1,000 trees to help green the City's streets and verges. We also introduced simplified guidelines to assist residents keen to create gardens on their verges.

"Last night Council voted to release for public comment a draft Planning Policy and Scheme Amendment aimed at building on these achievements.

"Under the new draft Policy property owners will be required to plant trees as part of any new development.

"For example a block of around 700m2 would require two trees to be planted on-site and another on the verge (in the absence of an existing street tree).

"If developers opt to retain the block's existing larger trees this would reduce their requirement to plant additional trees, as an incentive."

"Council has taken a balanced approach to the issue of tree loss on private property.

"We acknowledge that any action taken on private land would need to be fair and equitable and considerate of the financial expense incurred by the developer.

"Council is now seeking community feedback on its draft Policy. Information will be available on the City's engagement portal engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au in the coming weeks.

"There is currently no plan to introduce an approval process for removing trees on private property." 

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