Notable Trees

What can I do with my notable tree?

You own and may use your notable tree and the space around it in the usual manner provided that the notable tree, including its root system and living environment, is not damaged. A resource consent may be required from the Council before any proposed activity involving your notable tree, or activities in close proximity, can be carried out. 

The New Plymouth District Plan contains rules regarding the following activities:

  • Trimming or maintenance of a notable tree. 
  • Removal or destruction of a notable tree. 
  • Subdivision of an allotment containing a notable tree. 
  • Erection of temporary or permanent structures (such as buildings, equipment, driveways or scaffolding) within the drip line area* of a notable tree.  
  • Earthworks (excavation and filling) within the drip line area* of a notable tree. 
  • Storage of material within the drip line area* of a notable tree. 

* The drip line area is the area beneath the canopy of a tree, measured at ground level from any part of the surface of the trunk, with a radius of 5m or to the outermost extent of the spread of its branches, whichever is the greater.

What if I want to do something that is not within the scope of the District Plan rules?

You will need to apply for a resource consent. A report is required from an approved arborist assessing the value of the notable tree and the effects of your proposed activity. If your application is successful, conditions may be placed on your consent. There is no guarantee that consent will be granted.

What can the Council do to help me with my notable tree?

The Council can provide information and advice, and investigate complaints. Urgent queries received after hours or at weekends will also be attended to without hesitation.  

If the health of your notable tree or the safety of people or property is compromised, the Council may assist with the cost of pruning or removal (if funds are available). In all other circumstances, costs are met by the owner or, in the case of a resource consent, by the applicant.  

The Council also has a Built, Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Fund for very important notable trees under threat.   

What should I do if I think a notable tree is hazardous?

You should ring the Council before you or anyone takes any further action. An arborist from the Council or an approved arboricultural contractor will then perform a hazard assessment on the notable tree.  

If a notable tree is deemed hazardous, its listing will be deleted from the schedule of notable trees at the next change to the District Plan. 

How does a tree become protected?

The owner of the tree contacts the Council to request an assessment. An arborist from the Council or an approved arboricultural contractor will assess the tree against the following criteria: stature, form or shape, life expectancy, health and vigour, structural integrity, prominence of position, presence of other trees, role in location, historic importance/cultural importance, approximate age of tree, occurrence of the species, botanical value, tree in relation to nearby services and structures, ecological/climatic environment contribution (groups only), and stand landscape value (groups only). Trees are assessed as either a single tree or a group of trees.

If your tree is assessed as being of notable standard, it can then be recommended for inclusion in a proposed change to the District Plan. Plan changes will occur on a periodic basis.  This involves public notification and calling for submissions.