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Development Planning & Tree Protection Zones

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A man relaxes in an old tree. Proper tree protection means all can enjoy now and into the future

Effective tree protection means all can enjoy now and into the future

Trees are one of the most important elements of the Australian ecosystem. They ensure the health and well-being of the environment, as well as anything living within their proximity.

More specifically, trees create an ecosystem, releasing oxygen and provide habitat & food for birds and other animals, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gasses such as sulphur dioxide & carbon monoxide.


One large tree can supply a day’s worth of oxygen for four people


Tree Protection Zones

When it comes to the protection of trees on development sites, as can be expected, governments at all levels take the matter extremely seriously.

To assist all parties concerned in the proper management of established trees on development sites, the Australian Standard – AS4970-2009 (Protection of Trees on Development Sites) was created, mandating the creation of a Tree Protection Zone (or TPZ).

This TPZ determines certain setbacks that are calculated based on the relevant characteristics of a tree, including:

  • age
  • class
  • vigour
  • crown spread

The TPZ is about securing the space around the tree so that anything within the development including above and below the ground does not affect the integrity of the tree.

It should be secured by a lockable gate to restrict access, supported by signage to ensure the longevity of the trees.

Should there be an existing structure such as a building, fence or wall that is in place, that this too would be considered as sufficient to support the establishment of a Tree Protection Zone in the area.

In addition to the permitter protection, the Tree Protection Zone should be mulched and free of weeds to ensure the development doesn’t do anything to harm the tree for obvious reasons.

When should a Tree Protection Zone be factored into your development?

Within the design phase of your development project, it is a requirement that a resource evaluation of your site is taken, to ensure the project developers have important environmental elements such as gradient, drainage, trenching to prevent damage to trees.

By engaging professional arborists from the beginning of your development can save significant time and money – not to mention the potential of sanctions or fines should you not comply with the local laws and restrictions.

When considering a development in a particular area, it is paramount you review their particular guidelines before even purchasing the land – as in some cases, you may simply not be able to develop what you plan to if it is set to impact too much of the local environment.

All local councils will have a planning document available, such as this example from Moreton Bay in QLD, not to mention a planning department who are there to assist you with potential issues.

When it comes to tree protection zones, they are not to be taken lightly and could cost your development a significant amount of time and money should they not be given the proper consideration.

Consult a tree protection expert

Tree Science are the industry leaders in arborist development consultation and can provide all the relevant checks, reports and advice needed to keep your development moving forward.

With clients all over Australia, we are passionate about applying practical arboricultural and ecological solutions to government, commercial and residential projects.

If you need arborist reports to assess establishing a tree protection zone on your next development project, whatever the size, give Tree Science a call today on 1300 731 859 or get in touch via the contact form.

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