Save our Trees

Principal Petitioner Emma Smith, Brisbane
Date Closed Thu, 01 Aug 2019 This epetition has ended
No. of signatures 59 signatures

(View signatures)

I would like to draw to the attention of residents that too many trees are being chopped down and are leaving areas bare and animals homeless. Birds will have nowhere to build their nests. Possums will have nowhere to call home.There will be no shade all over Brisbane and the place is already hot enough.We have global warming so without trees it will be warmer, which will mean people use air conditioners more often, creating bigger electricity bills, etc

Your petitioners therefore request that people are not able to cut down trees at their own will if the tree can not be grown back to its full stature in 20 years. All trees are protected, even on private properties so we have a beautiful green landscape. As young people, we want a green landscape for our kids.

Council response

Thank you for your petitions requesting Council protect all trees in Brisbane to protect wildlife habitat and address urban cooling.

Your petitions have been investigated and considered by Council. It was decided that the petitioners be advised of the information below.

Council manages the protection and retention of vegetation in Brisbane through the implementation of the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (the local law) and Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan). It is important to note, however, that the local law is not a land use control. It will not prevent or prohibit land from being developed. The local law requires landowners and developers to consult Council to determine what vegetation should be retained as part of the land development process. One of the key purposes of the local law is to prevent pre-emptive vegetation removal where it has been protected.

Not all vegetation on private property in Brisbane is protected under the local law. For vegetation on private property to be covered by the local law, it must be subject to a Vegetation Protection Order (VPO), which can be requested by Council or the community. After a careful assessment, if the vegetation is deemed to meet the objects of the local law, a VPO can be placed on the vegetation.

Should you be interested in requesting that Council assess vegetation for possible protection, you may complete an online form on Council’s website at www.brisbane.qld.gov.au by typing ‘Nominating vegetation for protection’ into the search field. Nominations can be made to request protection for an individual tree, a group of trees or an area of vegetation.

For urgent nominations where the vegetation is under immediate threat, or for general vegetation protection enquiries, please phone Council’s 24-hour Contact Centre on (07) 3403 8888.

Council seeks to retain as much existing vegetation on development sites as possible. City Plan was prepared with extensive community consultation regarding how and where development should be located, and which land should be protected from development. In addition, City Plan includes overlay codes which require applicants to protect and restore vegetation that provide important habitat and corridors for native wildlife.

The Biodiversity areas overlay code requires that development protects and enhances koala habitat and wetlands, waterways and foreshores with significant biodiversity values. It also requires that development avoids impacts to biodiversity values, ecological features and ecological processes by siting development within building envelopes and development footprint plans. Where impacts are unavoidable, replacement planting may be required to compensate for the loss of biodiversity values.

The Waterway corridor overlay code contains additional provisions that restrict the clearing of vegetation in a waterway corridor to maintain and enhance waterway health values. Where a site features a significant landscape tree, the Significant landscape tree overlay code requires that development is sensitively sited and designed to ensure that the tree protection zone of the significant landscape tree is protected.

Council is committed to re-establishing and increasing tree canopy cover across Brisbane and reducing the urban heat island effect by creating shade cover along footpaths and bikeways. To this end, Council’s 2019-20 budget allocated an extra $2 million to greening Brisbane’s suburbs. This includes planting trees in Zillmere, Paddington, Greenslopes and Murarrie to improve the amenity of local shopping areas as well as beautifying busy traffic corridors through plantings in median strips.

The 2019-20 budget also includes a jacaranda planting program, with a $108,000 boost to focus on bringing spectacular colour to local parks in Bulimba, St Lucia and New Farm. In total, it is expected that 13,500 trees will be planted this year across Brisbane.

One of the key targets of Council’s Brisbane Vision 2031 is to establish 40% of mainland Brisbane as natural habitat. To do this, Council is also continuing to invest in the purchase of significant habitat through its Bushland Acquisition Program (the program). More than 4,200 hectares of important bushland and wildlife corridors have been protected through the program since 1990, including large areas of critical koala habitat. In addition, Council has committed to purchase an additional 750 hectares of land through the program between 2016 and 2020.

While Council acknowledges your request for all established trees to be protected, there are circumstances where the removal of established trees is unavoidable. Therefore, Council believes that the existing measures identified above are sufficient and does not plan to establish a blanket protection of mature trees. However, Council takes any request to remove a tree seriously, and development and building designs are often amended to facilitate the retention of significant vegetation.

Thank you for raising this matter.