​Tree-change planning leaves landholders free from confusion

Eurobodalla Council is seeking community feedback on changes to two documents pertaining to tree removal in the shire.

At the Council meeting on Tuesday, Councillors agreed to put on public exhibition draft amendments to the Residential Zone Development Control Plan for 28 days from Wednesday 8 May.

Council’s Director of Planning Lindsay Usher said the amendments were needed to rectify unintended consequences arising from the NSW Government’s 2017 land-management and biodiversity reforms.

“Changes in NSW legislation mean tree-management measures no longer apply to non-rural land in the Eurobodalla, resulting in inconsistencies in assessment and approval requirements for tree clearing across the shire,” Mr Usher said.

He said the amendments would reinstate control measures to non-rural land zoned E2-Environmental Conservation, E4-Environmental Living, R5-Large Lot Residential, and RE1-Public Recreation similar to those prior to the 2017 reforms.

At the meeting, Councillors also endorsed concurrent amendments to the Tree Preservation Code.

Mr Usher said updating the code would give landholders more certainty around the necessary requirements for removal of undesired vegetation and enabled clearing to maintain rural infrastructure appropriate to lifestyle blocks; a Council permit helps protect landowners from prosecution for unintentional illegal clearing.

“The amendments bring us back to a consistent approach to the removal of vegetation on non-rural land,” Mr Usher said.

“They also help ensure the visual amenity, biodiversity resilience and tourism appeal of trees in Eurobodalla’s non-rural landscape is protected against unauthorised clearing and pruning on public land.

“That’s important because the incremental nature of canopy loss often means changes go largely unnoticed, with reduced vegetation becoming the new normal.”

Above: Draft updates to documents governing tree clearing on non-rural land in the Eurobodalla are available for public comment until Wednesday 8 May.

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