Don't rush to cut down that notable tree

Can you cut down that big tree in your garden or should you check if its protected first?

With summer on the way, Farmer Freddy is making good use of a sunny weekend day by getting outside and doing some work around the yard.

Then Pebbles calls in, so Freddy and Pebbles enjoy a cold beverage on the deck.

"I'm planning to cut down the big old tree in the front yard," Freddy mentions to Pebbles. "It blocks the sun and makes a big mess with falling leaves. I have the number of a guy somewhere round here."

"Hold on a minute, Dad," says Pebbles. "You can't go cutting down trees like that willy-nilly. That tree may be protected as a notable tree."

"A notable tree?" asks Freddy. "What's a notable tree?"

"It's a tree that is significant for historic, botanical, landscape, amenity or cultural reasons. There are criteria set out in the district plan," explains Pebbles. "Notable trees are protected to make sure that significant trees are protected for the community and for future generations."

"But it's on my property!" Freddy exclaims.

"Yes, I know," says Pebbles.

"They can be on public or private property. If you own a notable tree, you can use the space around the tree, providing that the tree (including the roots) is not damaged. The district plan has rules relating to notable trees. They cover matters like trimming and maintenance, removal or destruction, and what happens if you want to subdivide land with a notable tree, or build a building or do earthworks in the vicinity." says Pebbles.

"What if I want to do something that is not in the rules?" Freddy asks.

"You will have to apply for a resource consent," replies Pebbles. "As part of that, you may need to get a report from an arborist who will assess the value of the notable tree and what the impact on the surrounding environment would be. You will usually only be allowed to remove notable trees if they are in poor condition and fall and cause damage to houses or the areas around them."

"Crikey," says Freddy. "I feel a headache coming on."

"Don't worry", says Pebbles. "We can check the rules in the district plan and give the council a call tomake sure we get it right."

"OK," says Freddy. "Sounds like I better not rush this one."


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