Page 1249 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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(2) The results of this scoping study are expected to be made available later in 2012. At this stage a more detailed program is being developed to ensure a rigorous approach is taken to the collection of data and to identifying the diverse stakeholders, including regional neighbours, that must be included in the study.

Planning—solar access
(Question No 2093)

Ms Le Couteur asked the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, upon notice, on 23 February 2012:

(1) What factors are considered when weighing the competing interests of existing trees and solar access to buildings.

(2) What rules apply in this situation and how is the decision made.

(3) Do the rules vary, depending on whether it is a building in a new suburb, a new building in an existing suburb, or an existing building in an existing suburb.

(4) What role does the Conservator for Flora and Fauna play in decisions in these instances.

(5) For what reasons can the ACT Planning and Land Authority or the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate override the Conservator’s advice.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The Conservator for Flora and Fauna shall determine if the existing tree meets criteria for removal under the Tree Protection (Approval Criteria) Determination 2006 (No 2) (DI 2006-60). This determination contains criteria for the purpose of section 21 of the Tree Protection Act 2005. For example, criteria (1)(e) of the determination permits the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to give approval to damage a regulated tree when the tree is substantially affecting solar access to the lessees lease, or neighbouring lease, during winter between the hours of 9am to 3pm and pruning is not sufficient to remedy this (excluding remnant eucalypts). In addition, the criteria require that all other reasonable remedial treatments and risk mitigation measures have been determined to be ineffective.

When deciding whether the criteria in paragraph 1 of the determination are met, the Conservator may consider:

(a) any exceptional circumstances that have been raised by the applicant, taking into account advice from the Tree Advisory Panel;

(b) the importance of the tree in the surrounding landscape; and

(c) if the tree is a species listed on schedule 3 of the Determination, whether the tree has ecological importance to the local environment.

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