Caring for the environment  |  11 Mar 2021

A new policy is in place for how Christchurch City Council will manage the planting, maintenance and removal of trees on public land.

The new policy, formally adopted today, sets out how the Council will ensure a tree renewal programme is maintained for future generations and how it plans to manage the maintenance of trees in parks, reserves, roads and other public places that it looks after.

The Tree Policy also outlines under what circumstances trees will be removed and provides guidance on how public requests for the removal of the trees should be dealt with.

“Christchurch is the Garden City and trees are a very important to that identity,’’ says Councillor Yani Johanson, who chaired the Hearings Panel that considered the public’s submissions on the Draft Tree Policy.

“Trees also play a vital role in carbon sequestration and helping to combat climate change so it is very important that we have a robust policy in place for managing and protecting the trees we have on public land.

“It was clear from the submissions that we received during the consultation process that people place a high value on trees and want Council to do more to enhance and protect them for the environmental and ecological benefits they provide.”

“We need to make sure we look after the trees that we have and continue to plant new trees because it will help us to achieve our climate change goals which is why we have asked for consideration of additional actions including:

  • How our District plan can be amended to provide greater protection for trees on private property to mitigate the losses due to increased intensification.
  • Better systems of monitoring our tree canopy coverage and of valuing the environmental benefits.
  • Annual reporting to Community Boards on tree removals and tree replacements.

“Ultimately, we want to increase the tree canopy in Christchurch, which is why staff are currently developing an Urban Forest Plan that will map out the long-term vision for the city and Banks Peninsula. 

“The plan will focus on expanding the cover and resilience of our urban forest to maximise the many benefits it provides to the city and its residents,’’ Cr Johanson says.

Council staff expect to present a draft Urban Forest Plan to elected member for approval to go out for public consultation by the end of the year.