As required by the Resource Management (Streamlining and Simplifying) Act of 2009, the general tree protection rules in some urban areas were removed from district plans at the beginning of this year. In order to protect notable trees in those areas, Auckland Council instigated plan changes to add some 1800 additional trees to its schedules of notable trees.
Following an application by Auckland Council, the Environment Court granted an order that the rules in the plan changes adding additional trees to the schedules have interim legal effect from 1 January 2012. This means that even though the plan change is still being processed, the additional trees will be subject to the rules relating to scheduled trees which require resource consent to obtained before the tree is cut down, altered, injured, destroyed or partially destroyed.
Auckland Council has now called for further submissions on its plan changes to add to its notable tree schedules. Further submissions close on 14 May 2012. In order to lodge a further submission you need to be able to show that:
- you represent a relevant aspect of the public interest; or
- have an interest in the proposed policy statement or plan or change that is greater than the interest the general public.
Interestingly, we understand that the Council has indicated that it considers any submissions seeking to add new trees to the schedule (ie in addition to those already nominated by the Council as needing to be added as part of the original plan change) to be outside the scope of the plan change. This is an approach which could be the subject of challenge by submitters.