AILA NSW Recommends Proper Process of Assessment of Significant Tree Removal

20 September 2016

Opinion piece by Gareth Collins, AILA NSW President

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) NSW recommends that a proper process of assessment of significant tree removal and avenue tree lopping should be undertaken by the utility companies so that the quality of our streets and our green spaces does not suffer.

In reference to the SMH article dated September 18 'The 1000 trees being assessed for potential removal by energy companies' and major lopping of native trees in Sydney streets (see photograph), AILA NSW is urging the Australian Government to implement a proper process for the cumulative impact assessment for the removal, or significant lopping, of mature woodland and avenues of street trees in our cities.

Mature trees are a key part our urban green infrastructure asset. They provide significant cooling and shade for our urban environments, they improve air quality and are also a valuable visual presence and natural beauty.

AILA NSW appreciates that our ongoing energy, water and information utilities are also vital to cities and the removal of vegetation that can affect that supply is an important function of a utility company. However, we believe large scale removal of vegetation or unbalanced lopping of trees along whole avenues has a significant impact on our communities and their sense of place.

Large scale removal or lopping should be assessed, impacts managed, mitigation proposed and local communities informed. Careful pruning to retain a safe, balanced tree is essential and in some cases it may be beneficial in the long run to relocate services, for example by undergrounding power lines, rather than the ongoing hacking of our mature trees.

Notes to the editor:

Gareth Collins is the current President of AILA NSW and a landscape architect with over 25 years’ experience.

About the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

AILA is the growing national advocacy body representing 2,500 active and engaged landscape architects, promoting the importance of the profession today and for the future. Committed to designing and creating a better Australia, landscape architects shape the world around us.