We currently have approximately 500 notable trees listed in the District Plan. In 2021 we reassessed these trees to determine if they still met the criteria for protection. At the same time there was a citywide assessment of trees on public property (road reserves and open spaces). From this work we've identified an additional 1051 trees, all on public property, that we're proposing be listed in the District Plan.

Click here to see a map that shows where the notable trees are that we're proposing be added to our District Plan.

How have the notable trees been identified and assessed?

The existing District Plan tree assessment methodology has been challenged in the past and because of this we've seen trees lost through the resource consent process.

To make sure we're doing all we can to protect our notable trees, experts from ArborLab Limited have used the STEM method to reassess all the notable trees in our District Plan as well as look to identify other notable trees on public property for protection. This STEM method involves assessing the tree's health, size, shape and historical and scientific background. This new assessment method is easier to understand and will help Council make a more informed decision on the trees we protect.

These reports are available to property owners on request by completing the below form.

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What does it mean if my property is listed as having a notable tree/s on it?

If your property is listed in the District Plan as having notable tree/s on it, there will be rules in place to protect the tree/s. A resource consent will not be required for emergency works and maintenance, however, if you wish to carry out any pruning work that will change the size or shape of the tree and result in a loss of height or canopy a resource consent will be needed. Additionally, any work that impacts the tree's health, including removal, or works within the tree root zone will also require resource consent.

The below table provides some typical examples of what works would require resource consent and what wouldn't. Noting some of these requirements are already in the District Plan.

Example: Requirements:
Non-emergency works to, removal of, or transplanting of a scheduled notable tree Consent required
Pruning and maintenance of a notable tree that do not meet the standards Consent required
Works and activities within the identified Protected Root Zone of any scheduled notable trees Consent required
Emergency works to, or removal of, a scheduled Notable Tree that meet certain standards No consent required
Minor pruning and maintenance of a scheduled notable tree that meet certain standards No consent required
Non-mechanical earthworks, gardening or non-mechanical cultivation, non-mechanical digging of holes for fences within a minimum of 3m from the base of any notable tree in the Protected Root Zone No consent required

If you are unsure whether your work requires a resource consent under the current District Plan, you can always contact our Duty Planner for general planning guidance enquiries. Please contact the duty planner weekdays 8am – 4.45pm Email: planning.guidance@hcc.govt.nz

My property was already listed as having a notable tree/s on it, what's changing?

Following a reassessment of all trees currently listed in our District Plan our technical experts have found some that no longer meet the more robust STEM standards and we will be removing these from the District Plan's protection. For the tress that meet the STEM standards they will continue to be protected through the District Plan's rules.

We've also reviewed and refined the rules that apply to notable trees, and we'll be proposing some changes, all of which will apply to your tree/s.

As part of the Plan Change, we've also reviewed and refined the existing rules around these notable trees. The changes to the current rules are aimed to provide clearer guidance on what works can be done without first getting a resource consent and the types of works that won't need consent.

If you are unsure whether your work requires a resource consent, you can always contact our Duty Planner for preliminary planning advice.

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Last updated 8 July 2022