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Tree Protection Unit

By akinom 15 October 2010 22

I’m fairly bemused that the ACT Government has no compunction about hauling down trees in public places, where a development is proposed or after a major storm event.

But when it comes to  my unsafe tree, which has a habit of dropping heavy limbs near my house and on my roof every major storm event, I have a great deal of difficulty convincing the Tree Protection Unit in TAMs of the need to fell it.

Anyone else have problems like this?


What’s Your opinion?


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Tree Protection Unit
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andysu 9:34 pm 24 Feb 15

same sh1t happen to me, apply twice last year due to a branch fall on the fence, got rejected. Now 3 huge branch came down, knock down half of my fence. That’s where our tax money goes, send some “professional” from their office, look around the tree for few minutes and said it didn’t not meet the criteria but recommend you to ask arborist to assesse it regularly.

Trad_and_Anon 8:58 pm 25 Feb 11

I sure do. I have a tree that is five metres from my house. The particular type of tree, according ot the ACT government, should not be planted within 9 metres of a house. National Botanic Gardens says the tree should not be planted near a dwelling. The NSW govt says the same. ACT, NSW govt and Nat Botanic Garden say this species drops branches. Well, it does; it has almost taken out a bedroom of my home. We no longer use that room. It has ruined plumbing ($4000 repairs) and paving. My friend has exactly the same situation – and he has had his application to remove REFUSED. He is up on his roof every week cleaning it from the debris of this tree. His eves have been destroyed by this tree. Mine have been damaged by the tree I have. It is pointless. This place is run by crazed Greenies who have totalitarian tendencies. But the joke is on them. My mate was going to put in solar power and solar water. But given the ongoing plumbing and maintenance expenses – and the fact he would be constantly up on the roof cleaning the crap from the tree from the solar collectors – there is no point. So, they continue to emit lots of carbon when there was the chance drastically reducing it for this household. I am in the same boat. The proximity of the tree to my friend’s house also means the value of his property is $50,000 lower – because people do not want trees that close.
So, for the sake of a tree, the greens now have two households actually increasing their carbon emissions. Well done greenies. “Stupid, doctrinaire, irrational greenies.”

Trad_and_Anon 11:43 pm 08 Jan 11

We have the same problem. A friend of mine has applied to remove a couple of trees. TAMS approved one and rejected the other.No real reasons were given for not approving the removal, even though the tree is only a couple of metres from his house, drops branches all the times has damaged cars and almost brained him. It has blocked his storm water and he spends a weekend a month cleaning up after this one tree.
I was looking into this and found an ACT govt doc that sets out the approved placement of trees near houses and so on – by species. It is called, “Design Standards for Urban Infrastructure (Plant Species for Urban Landscape Projects)” and can be had from:
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/12568/ds23_plantspecies.pdf
You have to ensure that your application meet the criteria in the Act – and the doc above can help you do that.
The truly bizarre thing is that a leaseholder can have a dangerous tree – that drops branches according to say the national botanic gardens and is close to the house – and the greenies at TAMS will refuse permission to remove the tree and say that the lease holder should have it pruned (cost $1000-$2000), have to spend thousands on plumbers and spend much time cleaning up after the tree. The Act should be amended to allow that unreasonable maintenance cost be a reason for removal.

georgesgenitals 2:21 pm 19 Oct 10

creative_canberran said :

From the creative genius of Dick Wolf… Law & Order: TPU.

Must have been funny in his school days, when the roll would be marked last name first, first name last: Wolf, Dick.

Tee hee…

Skidbladnir 2:02 pm 19 Oct 10

Jethro said :

Construction was about to begin but was then held up for 4 more months because there were two protected trees in the house site. Apparently the building approval didn’t include approval to remove the trees.

This document is what you need to base your arguments on, but be prepared for a fight with Tree Unit.
Bear in mind that not even poker machines take precedence over remnant eucalypts in this town, since the Gungahlin Helennic Club is smaller than they’d planned due a lone protected tree on their chosen site (which says a lot about how much Stanhope loves trees)…

DeadlySchnauzer 12:33 pm 19 Oct 10

To the doubters, i wandered out and snapped a photo of our electricity tree: http://img813.imageshack.us/img813/9003/p1000870.jpg

Its kind of hard to make out, but roughly in the middle of the shot some of the power lines are actually gradually being pushed closer together by branches growing through on opposite sides.

When TAMS is involved, anything is possible. Believe.

As for how this is allowed to happen, the ACTEW guy i spoke to said that they had no jurisdiction to just go ahead and remove the tree… they had to wait for TAMS to tell them to do it. I’m not sure if this is related to the TPU, or the fact that the tree is in a public reserve or what.

grumpyrhonda 9:25 am 16 Oct 10

Skidbladnir said :

His first comment was “When it falls you’ll be insured…”,

When it falls you’ll be insured……….what if it kills someone? Fools.

Jethro 8:03 am 16 Oct 10

This reminds me of when my cousin, Elly-May, wanted to build a house (albeit in a different jurisdiction to the ACT). Presented plans to the council, council worker came out, looked at the site where the house was to be built, granted approval.

Construction was about to begin but was then held up for 4 more months because there were two protected trees in the house site. Apparently the building approval didn’t include approval to remove the trees.

The trick with trees is to not ask in the first place. Just quietly remove them and no-one will be any the wiser.

Mr Waffle 12:53 am 16 Oct 10

As someone who has had intimate dealings with TAMS in the past, there’s plenty of people there who would like to tear down every last dangerous tree. But every time they go near one some local community group called “the friends of x” or the like will come out and oppose the tearing down of that precious tree because it was planted in nineteen dickey-two back when old uncle jerold had just settled the land and was wearing an onion on his belt (which was the style at the time). So TAMS are very much in the position of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”…

Funky Claude 12:05 am 16 Oct 10

DeadlySchnauzer said :

In the reserve opposite our place there is a large gum growing directly through the power lines (and by directly i literally mean half the lines are on one side of the crown and half on the other side). When there are strong winds it waves the power lines all over the place, and every now and then you get some pretty sparks. I have twice now seen ACTEW workers come out to take a look at it and shake their heads in dismay. One of them said that as far as they (ACTEW) are concerned it is an extreme hazard, but its not in their power to remove it… its all up to TAMS.

What pisses me off the most is that despite the fact that there is a tree growing directly through power lines that is apparently fine, we got a warning notice to cut back a beautiful old fruit tree in our yard because it dared to be within about 2 metres of a power line. Consistency

I find this hard to believe. If it encroaches within the set clearances, they will remove it usually via a contractor and if it is as bad as you say, it would be tendered to as a priority. If you did nothing about that old fruit tree they would have came around, removed the offending branches and give you the bill. If it was TAMS responsibility, the same would apply. They don’t muck around with clearances, they can’t afford to.

akinom 6:56 pm 15 Oct 10

After reading everyone’s posts I feel much better that other people have the same problems. Anyone I am sitting out the current storm waiting to see what my widowmaker is going to do next. …

GottaLoveCanberra 5:57 pm 15 Oct 10

Pork Hunt said :

DeadlySchnauzer said :

In the reserve opposite our place there is a large gum growing directly through the power lines (and by directly i literally mean half the lines are on one side of the crown and half on the other side).P

I have to disagree with Herr Schnauzer. I cannot believe for a nano second that an electricity provider will allow trees to grow around powerlines as you have described.

If you’d like to provide me either an address or a block and section I can have this looked into properly because I do find it hard to believe.

Pork Hunt 5:39 pm 15 Oct 10

DeadlySchnauzer said :

In the reserve opposite our place there is a large gum growing directly through the power lines (and by directly i literally mean half the lines are on one side of the crown and half on the other side). When there are strong winds it waves the power lines all over the place, and every now and then you get some pretty sparks. I have twice now seen ACTEW workers come out to take a look at it and shake their heads in dismay. One of them said that as far as they (ACTEW) are concerned it is an extreme hazard, but its not in their power to remove it… its all up to TAMS.

What pisses me off the most is that despite the fact that there is a tree growing directly through power lines that is apparently fine, we got a warning notice to cut back a beautiful old fruit tree in our yard because it dared to be within about 2 metres of a power line. Consistency = none.

So yes, I also have problems like this 😛

I have to disagree with Herr Schnauzer. I cannot believe for a nano second that an electricity provider will allow trees to grow around powerlines as you have described.

Mia80 4:54 pm 15 Oct 10

We had this exact problem with a massive gum tree in the front yard.
Every Summer it would drop a couple of branches, and not little stuff either.

For years we wrote to TAMS with little or no response.

The last straw was when it almost dropped a branch on a group of kids playing in the street.
We got the Tree Doctor in to have a look at it and test it. Sure enough, the tree was rotting from the inside.
We sent a copy of the report with a further request, complete with incidents of falling branches, petitioning for it’s removal. Also offering to care for any evergreen tree they might like to replace it with.
Sure enough, TAMS sent out there own tree guy, tested it, agreed it needed to be removed and a month later it was gone. They didn’t even replace it.

Maybe getting someone “professional” to say it needs to go, spurs on our ole friends at TAMS.

troll-sniffer 2:52 pm 15 Oct 10

If you can find any Tordon a small gash and a teaspoonful will knock off a gum tree, but as it’s not allowed I won’t mention it here. But of course if you did hear of such a thing it would be necessary to have an unrelated person deliver the knockout unknown by your goodly self.

It has been done, I wonder if it will be done again?

jimbocool 12:27 pm 15 Oct 10

I have a large, dying widow maker in my back yard. Application for permission to get it cut down was dead easy – filled out a form sent it off, tree people inspected and consulted neighbours, permission granted. Getting an arborist to cut the f##ker down has proven much more difficult!

Skidbladnir 12:26 pm 15 Oct 10

We had a protected tree in our backyard up until earlier this year.
It had been assessed as not being of risk to anybody only six months previous by Environment ACT, so we were not able to have what we believed were dangerous limbs removed.

Then, it dropped an eight meter limb (the same one we told Environment ACT we were concerned about at inspection) that destroyed our fence, two other trees, shattered a concrete birdbath, and tore off guttering from the house (ie: it barely missed doing property damage), and it also started a fire next door when it brushed the power lines as it fell (ie: it was threatening infrastructure).

It took a few hours of phone calls with Tree Unit for them to be open to the idea that maybe someone should leave their office and look at the tree, because they had the previous inspection paperwork which indicated the tree was perfectly safe and they believed that, not the person on the phone telling them a third of the tree had collapsed.

Someone came out barely before 5pm and agreed that their last assessment was no longer valid, and perhaps the tree was unsafe.
Then it still took a few more days for a second Tree Unit officer to come onsite and re-inspect the tree before giving approval for felling it.
His first comment was “When it falls you’ll be insured…”, but then it took further effort on our part to convince him that maybe we could prevent needing to make an insurance claim by Tree Unit signing off on a controlled felling, since if it was clear enough for him to verbally state it would fall, maybe we could make life easier for everyone by giving permission to emergency fell the tree, instead of having his supervisor explain via a Ministerial how the ‘safe’ tree destroyed a house.

TAMS are loathe to fell a tree if it has protected status even if its a potential widowmaker, because the legislation currently favours trees established pre-construction over any houses near them, until the tree starts to get a life-threatening lean on it.

creative_canberran 11:18 am 15 Oct 10

From the creative genius of Dick Wolf… Law & Order: TPU.

Rangi 10:57 am 15 Oct 10

tell em you want to build a wetland

DeadlySchnauzer 10:26 am 15 Oct 10

In the reserve opposite our place there is a large gum growing directly through the power lines (and by directly i literally mean half the lines are on one side of the crown and half on the other side). When there are strong winds it waves the power lines all over the place, and every now and then you get some pretty sparks. I have twice now seen ACTEW workers come out to take a look at it and shake their heads in dismay. One of them said that as far as they (ACTEW) are concerned it is an extreme hazard, but its not in their power to remove it… its all up to TAMS.

What pisses me off the most is that despite the fact that there is a tree growing directly through power lines that is apparently fine, we got a warning notice to cut back a beautiful old fruit tree in our yard because it dared to be within about 2 metres of a power line. Consistency = none.

So yes, I also have problems like this 😛

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