While many of us have trees on our properties in Auckland, a large number of homeowners are unclear on the local rules and regulations regarding trees, and have no idea which of the trees on a property are protected by the council. In this blog, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions on Auckland’s tree rules and regulations, acquired through our experience operating as an arborist Auckland wide.
Can I cut that tree down?
Before you chop, prune or even trim a tree on your property, you’ll need to check if it’s protected. Some trees are protected as part of district plans, normally because they’re either significant for the area, historic, or important for preventing erosion. Anything within 20 metres of water is likely to be protected, and other trees may be protected by a past resource consent or a covenant on the property title.
When the council schedules a tree as notable, it receives greater legal protection, and can’t be cut down without resource consent. Members of the public can nominate any tree to be scheduled as notable, however they’ll normally need a strong case regarding its history, significance, or impressiveness as an example of its species.
Trees on neighbouring or council land
Problems often arise between neighbours when trees grow, block drains, touch walls and houses, or create any other hazard. Generally, a neighbour has the right to cut or trim any part of a tree that encroaches onto their property – though if the tree is protected they’ll need resource content or will face consequences. If a neighbouring tree is diminishing your quality of life at home, you can also apply for a court order to have your neighbour cut it down.
The council can order anyone to trim or remove a tree that’s creating a hazard for neighbouring council land (such as roads or drains), however in no circumstances should a member of the public take any action against a tree planted on council land.
Resource consent is crucial
If a tree on your property is protected, you’ll need a resource consent to do any work on it, or carry out construction work around it. However, it’s important to note that in cases where a tree has fallen or split, you can go ahead with tree removal without consent due to the potential hazard the damaged tree presents.
For those who are planning to perform extensive work around trees, submit a resource application to cut down multiple trees, or want to remove a protected tree urgently, a wise first step is to obtain an arborist’s report: a qualified arborist will offer professional advice on safely removing a tree or trees, as well as other factors such as the necessary steps in doing so.
To get in touch with one of Auckland’s most experienced arborists about any of our tree services, or to discover what we can do for the trees on your property, contact Heaven Contracting today!