Background

Street and reserve trees improve urban environments by contributing to their appearance and character, absorbing heat, providing shade and habitat, utilising storm water run-off and assisting in air purification.

Council is reviewing its Street and Reserve Tree Policy which is due for renewal in November 2024. The Draft Tree Management Policy will replace the Street and Reserve Tree Policy and aims to:

  • provide consistency with decision making in regard to planting, pruning, and removing trees across the City of Hume
  • document Hume City Council’s commitment to improving the natural shade and other benefits to the City through the maintenance and enhancement of its street and reserve trees.

The scope of the Draft Tree Management Policy covers the planning, planting, maintenance and removal of trees and stands of trees on Council owned parks, reserves, open space and road reserves.

Did you know..?

What's in the policy?

The Draft Policy now includes:

  • further information on tree planting and outlines the methodology for tree planting in areas with low tree numbers to be prioritised
  • information on when Council will consult with residents where tree planting or removal is to be undertaken
  • additional information on how tree values are calculated to industry standards to provide clarity to residents and developers
  • tree pruning and removal criteria has been updated to provide greater clarity on how Council will manage requests for tree works and removals

Click on the below headings to find out more about what's in Hume City Council's Draft Tree Management Policy.

The types of land in scope of this policy are:

  • Council owned and/or managed parks and open space
  • Council owned and/or managed road reserves as defined in the Code of Practice Operational Responsibility for Public Roads
  • Crown land that Council is the gazette committee of management, to the extent of Council’s obligations under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978
  • Land to which Council has entered into an agreement/licenses/leases requiring management of tree.

The type of land out of scope of the policy includes:

  • Private land
  • Public land owned by other agencies where Council has no formalized agreement for tree management or maintenance.
  • Sites of ecological significance and natural areas, including those that are on legal road, currently or proposed to be managed in accordance with ecological principles.
  • Crown or other land that the Council does not own but has a legal responsibility to manage.

General

In line with Council’s Community Engagement Policy, the engagement process scales depending on the expected level of community interest. I.e. if only a single tree is affected, or Council is replacing trees, then Council may just inform the directly affected resident.

Whereas if a whole or significant part of a gateway or boulevard is affected, and the character of the area changed, then directly affected and broader community views may be sought through a project consultation process.

Tree planting

Council will endeavour to inform residents who live close to a planned replacement tree planting site via the Council website. Residents who live in the street where a renewal tree planting is planned may be consulted on the character of the street. The final decision as to the positioning and species of the tree will be made by the Council.

Tree removal

Council will inform and consult with residents on non urgent street tree removal decisions. when appropriate. When consulted, residents are given 10 working days to respond. Residents may make a submission about the decision to remove a tree, which will be considered before any works occur.

If a tree is found to be in poor or very poor condition and/or present an imminent risk to the public the tree will be removed immediately, and the nearest resident will be notified.

Property owners and residents should contact Council and request an inspection and pruning of any Council’s street or reserve trees, including when trees have over hanging foliage into residents' properties.

Council will undertake height reduction pruning in the following cases:

  • tree health and safety concerns where it is appropriate that the tree be retained
  • to provide clearance of overhead electrical conductors
  • where there are environmental reasons for the retention of the tree (e.g. slope stability, habitat, providing shelter for new planting)
  • where an approved landscape plan requires trees to be pruned to meet specific urban design outcomes.

Council will prune trees to alleviate hazards such as:

  • overhead services clearance
  • removal of broken, dead, dying, or diseased branches
  • branches obstructing footpaths, cycle ways, carriageways, vehicle crossings, car parks
  • any other pruning required to maintain the health and structural integrity of the tree
  • emergency situations
  • safety sight lines for traffic management.

Property owners and residents may request a tree be inspected for additional pruning outside of the Council’s planned pruning program. Additional pruning requirements will be assessed using the criteria listed above.

Tree removal must be approved by a suitably qualified Council officer. The tree or tree group will be inspected and assessed by a suitably qualified Council arborist for tree health, structure, Useful Life Expectancy, potential risk and species appropriateness.

Trees and groups of trees may be removed when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • the tree is in a poor or very poor condition, except where a tree is indigenous or in a conservation site
  • the tree is infected with a pest or disease where the recommended control is not applicable, and removal will prevent transmission
  • the tree poses a high or extreme safety hazard that cannot be corrected by pruning, transplanting or other treatments
  • the tree severely interferes with a neighbouring tree or tree group to the extent that neither tree can develop to its full potential. The more desirable tree will be preserved
  • the tree is proven to be causing damage or nuisance to public or private property and there are no arboricultural or engineering or property maintenance solutions available to rectify the situation
  • the tree or group of trees is included in a Council approved Precinct Plan; or the street tree rejuvenation program as identified by Council’s Parks Department
  • any invasive species of tree under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994
  • non-approved tree plantings
  • where the Chief Integrity Officer, Manager Customer Experience and Manager City Parks and Open Spaces considers there are exceptional circumstances and the tree should be removed.

How to participate

You can provide feedback on the Draft Tree Management Policy by:

filling out the form below

emailing your feedback to participate@hume.vic.gov.au

phoning us on 9205 2200. Conversations in languages other than English can be arranged.

posting to Hume City Council, PO Box 119, Dallas Vic 3047