Tree removal laws tightened

Tree removal laws tightened

16 June 2011

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Australia — CONTENTIOUS tree removal laws are set to be tightened under new measures to improve Victoria’s response to bushfires.

The State Government’s recently released bushfires implementation plan details how it will tackle all 67 of the Bushfires Royal Commission’s recommendations.

Under the plan, the 10/30 rule will be replaced with permanent measures in September, requiring councils to “give weight to fire protection purposes” when assessing permits in low-risk areas, while landowners in high-risk areas will be able to create a defendable space around their home without a permit.

New guidelines will also determine the maximum level of clearing around a house.

The new measures will supersede the present rule – set to expire in March 2012 – which allows landowners to clear vegetation within 30m of their home and trees up to 10m from buildings without a permit.

Nillumbik Council spokeswoman Allison Watt said the Government was yet to provide details on the new provisions.

Other measures the Government has adopted include allowing Green Wedge councils to include a minimum lot size for residential blocks and new standards for community bushfire refuges and shelters.

Bushfire Response Minister Peter Ryan said bushfires were inevitable and the plan was an important step in improving the state’s fire preparation. “This implementation plan will help ensure Victoria will never let the lessons of the devastating 2009 bushfires be forgotten.”

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