District Plan Review - Survey on Protected Trees
We’re looking to get a better idea of what the community thinks about our current method of protecting trees in the Taupō District, and if it’s the right approach.
Currently the District Plan protects over 200 trees on both public and private land. There are two categories of trees we recognise through the Plan – Notable Trees and Amenity Trees. Trees are evaluated against the Standard Tree Evaluation Method (STEM) which considers condition, amenity and vitality.
Notable Trees have higher protection under the plan than Amenity Trees. There are different rules that prevent pruning, removal and activities near Notable Trees (unless we grant consent for this). The rules for Amenity Trees apply to pruning and earthworks near the tree.
It’s worth noting that protected trees are not necessarily protected because they are native (we have other rules in our plan which protect areas of native bush). In fact, the majority of our protected trees are Poplars and Pine trees. The trees are protected because of their cultural, heritage or amenity value to the landowner and/ or community.
Most of these trees are on Taupō District Council land (195), and 42 are on private land. Although some councils assess all trees across their district (public and private), we decided that protecting trees on private property really only works if the landowner is on board.
We are currently thinking about reviewing our protected tree rules. This is because we have run into a few issues with what is currently in the Plan, including:
- Lack of compliance with District Plan provisions (people removing, trimming or undertaking non-permitted activities near protected trees)
- Cost of compliance for Council (and therefore ratepayers) – several infrastructure projects have been held up or required significant modification in order to comply with the protected tree rules
- We have a low assessment score compared to other parts of New Zealand – so we protect trees that wouldn’t be protected in other places.
The survey on protected trees closed on 28 January 2022. Thanks for providing feedback.
We will not be progressing with reviewing the protected tree rules at this time.
If you have any questions, please contact the District Plan Review team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07 376 0899.
If you are interested in having a look at where the protected trees are in our district you can find them on this online map.