significant Tree register

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SUMMARY

Peaceful Bayside is calling on Bayside Council to establish a Significant Tree Register. The purpose of a Tree Register is to identify and recognise the importance of significant trees and to guide their management and to ensure their protection for future generations.

 

Street trees are one of the most important components of our urban spaces and we are committed to increasing tree canopy cover in Bayside. The average tree canopy cover in Bayside is only 13.7%. This is the lowest tree canopy in urban NSW. 

why we need trees

Trees are needed to remove carbon dioxide and emissions from the air and to provide the oxygen we breathe. They help lower the heat island effect, and with rising temperatures that is key for Bayside's future. Trees along the foreshore also provide much-needed support to prevent erosion. In addition, trees provide much-needed habitat for birds and animals. Trees are also important for reducing carbon emissions and helping us tackle climate change. They are good for our mental health and increase the liveability of our cities.

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safer streets

Peaceful Bayside has looked into numerous studies and examples of how trees slow drivers, by creating “a natural visual wall that drivers are constantly aware of”.

 

By adding trees along a street, you take away that sense of the open road, or a highway where you can travel at high speed. It makes a psychological change that doesn't require policing resources. In the Netherlands, they feature trees on their chicanes to slow traffic and create “Woonerfs” or living streets, where residents feel safe to walk and play because cars naturally slow down. Slower vehicle speeds result fewer crashes and less severe injuries.

preventing heat islands

Canopy trees also provide shade and play a significant role in reducing the effects of urban heat on an area because, unlike hard surfaces, trees and vegetation reflect heat and actively cool and clean the air. Every 10% increase in tree canopy cover can reduce land surface temperatures by 1.13 degrees Celsius.

The urban heat island effect is localised warming due to the increase in the large amounts of paved and dark coloured surfaces like roads, roofs and car parks as a result of urban development. The sun’s heat is absorbed, not reflected and causes the surface and ambient temperatures to rise. 

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TREE VANDALISM

Tree vandalism is the purposeful and illegal destruction of trees by poisoning, felling and over-pruning. The foreshore trees are particularly targeted with twelve trees cut down last October and again in Brighton at the intersection of The Grand Parade and Bruce Street. The destruction of the trees on the foreshore causes erosion which will, in turn, impact The Grand Parade because of the presence of sand dune erosion. 

After another such incident in July where foreshore trees were illegally felled at Brighton Le Sands, and in order to deter future tree vandalism, Bayside Council took the extraordinary measure of placing three shipping containers in the spot where the mature trees had stood. Doing so has sent a clear and strong message that tree vandalism will not be tolerated. But we don’t want the Bayside Council to be only reactive. Council needs to lead and educate our community to value and protect these important green assets and to stop the wilful destruction of an important part of our environment.

the role of council

In Sydney and areas zoned “residential”, “village”, “township”, “industrial” or “business”, it is the responsibility of local councils to manage tree populations and there is not a uniform system in place as each council forms its own planning guidelines. 

Bayside Council needs to join the rest of Sydney and create and implement a significant tree register policy to understand the health of the current ecosystem. Steps need to be taken in order to restore native biodiversity. Bayside currently does not have a significant tree register. A tree register will allow the council and members of the public to understand and maintain the current amount of canopy trees across Bayside.

The cities of Gosford, Randwick, Manly, Sydney and the Sutherland Shire all use the following policy guidelines to determine the significance of trees:

  • Landscape amenity

  • Historical importance

  • Botanical importance

Gosford, Manly and the Sutherland Shire have the additional guidelines of:

  • Aboriginal importance

  • Functional purpose (shade, habitat, avenue windbreaks)

Peaceful Bayside’s proposed tree register will include the ability for members of the public to include their own trees, and trees that they would like to see protected.

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