Community calls for tree register after Norfolk Island pine felled

February 13, 2024 BY

Aireys Inlet and District Association have expressed disappointment over the removal of a 160-year-old Norfolk Island Pine. Photo: MICHAEL FENTON

THE removal of a 160-year-old Norfolk Island Pine from a private property in Aireys Inlet has led to growing calls for a significant tree register in the region.

Aireys Inlet and District Association (AIDA) president Charlotte Allen expressed disappointment over the tree’s removal.

“No planning permit was needed for its removal, and the landowner acted within their rights,” Ms Allen said.

For the past year, AIDA has been lobbying the Surf Coast Shire to create a register for protecting both native and non-native trees on private and public lands.

Ms Allen said the shire already protected some trees on its land, such as the large Norfolk Island pine at Bark Hut Reserve.

“However, a register would ensure all significant trees in our area are protected, requiring planning permits for any work.”

A Norfolk Island Pine. Photo: SUPPLIED

The National Trust manages a significant tree register and works with councils to help them set up and manage their own.

National Trust environmental heritage advocate Jelena Ljubisic said the organisation strongly encouraged councils to implement their own significant tree registers.

“We provide councils with a list of significant trees in their municipality and encourage the registration of trees on both public and private land,” she said.

Once registered, trees can then be protected through planning scheme overlays or local council laws.

“Trees are significant for various reasons, including their scientific, social, historic, or aesthetic value. Most councils use National Trust guidelines for assessment,” Ms Ljubisic said.

In the Surf Coast Shire vegetation is protected under a number of different controls and overlays under the Surf Coast Planning Scheme.

Ms Allen said discussions between AIDA and the shire were continuing.

Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

Breaking news, community, lifestyle, real estate, and sport.