Ashburton District Council is urging residents to do their homework before pruning or removing trees on their property, after becoming aware of significant damage sustained to a protected tree in Ashburton.
Prominent trees throughout the district are protected in the District Plan and require a resource consent to be removed, and for other works (e.g. trimming, work below ground level etc.).
Council Strategy & Compliance Group Manager Jane Donaldson says it's vital residents consult the District Plan or talk to Council staff before starting work, as some may be unaware that a tree on their property could be protected.
"The District Plan recognises that there are a number of trees that make a significant contribution to the character of our district, be rare or unique, or may also have heritage value.
"It is up to all of us to do our research before removing protected trees or undertaking work on or near them as failing to do so could lead to some very hefty consequences."
Failure to obtain a resource consent to work on a protected tree can result in a fine of up to $300,000 or imprisonment of up to two years.
A full list of protected trees in the Ashburton District is available in Section 12 of the operative District Plan on the Council website ashburtondc.govt.nz.