New tree-protection laws for the Australian Capital Territory

New tree-protection laws are on the cards for the national capitol since the ACT’s Legislative Assembly passed the Urban Forest Bill 2022 to better protect trees and increase planting to enhance urban canopy cover.

Work is on track to deliver new tree-protection laws under Canberra’s Urban Forest Strategy by providing effective tree protection measures when the new laws take effect on 1 January 2024. Arborists working in the ACT recently attended an information session to hear about the new laws that will:
* Protect smaller trees on private land more than previously
* Protect dead native trees that provide habitat
* Classify all trees on public land as protected
* Require planting to replace canopy when a protected tree is removed
* Require payment in lieu of replacement where trees cannot be replanted on site
* Require a Tree Management Plan where a protected tree may be impacted by development
* Introduce a bond system to ensure protected trees are not damaged during construction
* Increase penalties for people caught damaging a protected tree, and
* Expand the ACT Tree Register to protect more of the most significant trees.

Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045

The Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045 sets out the ACT Government’s vision for a resilient and sustainable urban forest.

The strategy has been developed alongside the ACT Planning Strategy 2018, ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025 and the Living Infrastructure Plan.

The Strategy sets out six objectives.

1. Protect the urban forest.
2. Grow a resilient forest.
3. Balance and diversify the urban forest.
4. Take an ecological approach and support biodiversity.
5. Develop infrastructure to support the urban forest and liveability.
6. Partner with the community.

It also outlines actions to overcome key challenges such as species diversity, an ageing tree population, climate change and urban heat island effects.

Learn more at

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