Trees can be protected in a number of ways in Auckland.
In fact, working on or near a protected tree requires you to have a resource consent. If you fail to do so you expose yourself to a potential fine of up to $250,000. So, we definitely recommend that you do your research to find out whether one of your trees falls into this category. Certainly, if you have any concerns at all, its worth making sure that you know whether your trees require any consent before they are worked on or maintained.
It’s also important to note that the way in which your tree is protected will determine whether it appears on a list or not.
This blog aims to describe the different ways your tree may be protected and how to find out if it is.
Trees can be protected in a number of ways
The following is from Auckland Council’s website:
“A notable tree is a tree or group of trees that a community or nation regards as being of special importance because they:
- commemorate important events in a nation’s history
- are an exceptional or unique example of a species
- are critical to the survival of other animal and plant species
- are of such age, stature, character and visibility that they are regarded as the best in the district.”
When a tree is classed as notable (aka scheduled/listed) by the council it is given certain protections. You must apply for resource consent to remove the tree, or to carry out certain pruning or ground works in the vicinity of the tree (excavations, building etc.) The tree will be listed on the notable tree schedule. More information about notable trees can be found at the following link:
How does the land or area that it is situated in affect it?
Certain areas are classed as Significant Ecological Areas or SEA. Resource consent is required for certain works on or around trees in SEA’s. The best way to find out if you need resource consent for your tree work is to look at the Auckland Unitary Plan or to contact a council Arborist. If resource consent is required you will usually need an Arborists report to support the application.
There are many layers of complexity to notable and protected trees and something else its handy to be aware of is that trees or vegetation can be protected if they are near a body of water. Trees or vegetation (non-pest species) are likely to be protected if they are:
- on or near (within 20m) steep coastal cliffs – if the cliff is within 150m of the high tide mark
- on or near (within 20m) stream and river banks
- within or close to sensitive coastal or wetland areas.
Again, it is best to check with the council if you are not sure.
What about resource or other consent?
Trees may also be protected as a condition on a past resource consent, or, by a covenant or a consent notice on a Certificate of Title. We recommend ordering a property file to see if you tree is protected as a condition on a past resource consent. A Certificate of Title will tell you if your tree is protected under a consent notice or covenant on the property title.
To summarise, trees may be protected in the following ways:
- They are notable (listed/scheduled)
- They are in a Significant Ecological Areas or SEA
- They are near a body of water
- As part of a past resource consent
- By a covenant or consent notice on a Certificate of Title
Lists of protected trees do exist for notable trees which is helpful as an arborist but also as a tree owner. In other instances, you will need to check with a council Arborist, the GIS overlay website, order a property file or get hold of a Certificate of Title.
Useful information can be found at the following links:
For tree work on protected trees, call our arborists.
Make sure to check out all our “How To Provide Tree Maintenance Series” instructional guides as checking these may assist you with some of the questions you have concerning your trees.
A Tree protection grant is available within the Ōrākei Local Board. The Ōrākei Local Board recognise the significance of trees in their local neighbourhoods and town centres. Learn about the tree protection grant eligibility criteria and how to apply online.
Finally, these arborist guides are aimed for tree owners who are keen to get their hands dirty.
- How to provide tree work for trees blocking your view…
- How to trim a hedge the right way for the best results…
- How to care for your trees in the summer heat…
- How to mulch a tree and take care of your trees…
- Best time of year to prune large trees is now…
- How to prune a tree and how you can manage the condition of your trees…
- How to plant a tree guide with plenty of helpful advice…