City Plan allows too much tree clearing

Redland City protects very few significant trees

Redland City protects very few significant trees

Tree clearing rules proposed in the Draft City Plan would allow unprecedented environmental harm in the Redlands.

The proposed City Plan rules would protect trees less effectively than the current Redland City Planning Scheme and local laws.

Brisbane City Council does not have tree clearing exemptions/allowances in their City Plan. They have a tight, prescriptive local law that works alongside their City Plan to provide the most effective means of vegetation protection.

Redlands’ natural environment is special and deserves at least an equivalent level of protection as Brisbane City Council. Therefore, Redland City Council’s Local Law 6 – Protection of Vegetation needs to remain the primary mechanism for tree protection and work alongside the City Plan.

This table highlights how poor Redland City Council’s proposed tree protection measures are when compared to Brisbane City Council.

Draft Redland City Plan 2015 Brisbane City Council – City Plan 2014
Vegetation protection laws The City Plan will become the mechanism for vegetation protection – Local Law 6, Protection of Vegetation will become obsolete. They have a Natural Assets Local Law that works alongside the City Plan to provide a high level of vegetation protection.
Tree protection in urban footprint area No tree protection at all on properties less than 2000m2 (1/2 acre) zoned Low Density Residential – this is most of the urban area. The Natural Assets Local Law protects all mapped native vegetation.
Tree clearing allowances/exemptions Tree clearing up to:
• 2500m2 (over ½ acre) in the Rural Zone, or
• 500m2 on the larger properties in the urban footprint (on blocks over ½ acre)
is exempt/allowable – no Council approval is required.
These exemptions mean Council has no input on where and how the clearing occurs.
There are no blanket tree clearing allowances/exemptions in the City Plan.
The Natural Assets Local Law has tight, prescriptive exemptions for circumstances such as removal of trees within 3 metres of an approved building.
Acreages and farms outside the urban footprint All private properties are simplistically zoned Rural. The main purpose of this zone is to allow for primary production activities and offers little protection of the natural environment.
No council approval is needed for cropping, animal husbandry, animal keeping (except kennels/catteries) and up to 2 dwellings in the Rural Zone.
This is likely to impact on the lifestyle and biodiversity of small acreage communities.
Acreages in areas like Chandler are zoned Environmental Management and/or Conservation to protect the biodiversity values and to retain the small acreage lifestyle.
Rural farmland areas are zoned Rural to allow primary production activities.
Significant tree protection There are seven tree listings on the Heritage Schedule. A Significant Landscape Tree Overlay maps and protects hundreds of trees. These are in addition to trees protected by Vegetation Protection Orders.

Clearing exemptions/allowances may be suitable for areas like western Queensland, but they are not suitable for Redlands, an area of high biodiversity, declining koala population and development pressures.

Make a submission about tree clearing

The vulnerable koala is just one of Australia's animals threatened by habitat loss

Better tree clearing rules in City Plan will help save koalas

Anyone concerned about conserving some of the Redlands’ natural environment should make a submission about this issue to the Draft City Plan.

A submission should say something like:

Please change the Draft City Plan so that:

  • The provisions which allow unlimited tree clearing on urban blocks less than 2,000m2 should be removed.
  • The provisions which allow clearing of up to 500m2 on blocks over ½ acre (2000m2) in the urban footprint should be removed.
  • The provisions which allow unlimited clearing of up to 2,500m2 on rural properties should be removed.
  • The current Local Law 6 – Protection of Vegetation must be strengthened and integrated into the new City Plan.

The closing date for submissions is 27 November 2015.

Advice on how to make a submission is available here.


More about tree clearing and City Plan

Draft City Plan 2015 could devastate Redlands koalas


Redlands2030 – 18 November 2015

Updated 19 November 2015 with inclusion of additional dot point for submissions:

The provisions which allow clearing of up to 500m2 on blocks over ½ acre (2000m2) in the urban footprint should be removed.

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email

5 thoughts on “City Plan allows too much tree clearing

  1. Very concerning…the Redland environmental values and natural areas have the potential to attract so many visitors and tourists and support active recreation and innovatove rural industries. Protection and enhancement of natural values critical to support this but unfortunately appear much may be lost. Unfortunately most likely seeking to degrade natural areas so they can then be developed in years to come.

  2. while RCC is allowing more trees to be cut down, BCC buys back more land for open space and conservation. Appears BCC seem to understand that more people will need more open space, not less. Without local, district and regional parks integrated into a logical and usable open space network, Redlands will just be wall to wall suburbia without any natural features or attractions. You may as well be living in another Brisbane suburb (but they have more open space, more entertainment, better public transport and employment near where they live and stuff like that……………….)

  3. Aren’t City Plan laws made by developers behind closed doors together with Mayor and followers? They don’t value trees, health, koalas, or, as we are finding out, neighbourhood parks, even when paid for with our environmental levy, & donated land. It’s hard to comprehend a council bureaucracy would go so far as to allow developers to have them, destroying any chance of liveability, particularly in specific built up areas. When our mayor Williams was councillor for Div 9, Capalaba, her newsletter told us Winter Memorial Park would have new shade over structure that had been vandalised, plus there was an order to instal a tap. But once under the control of favourite developers, the park lost its name as spin doctors made it clear to me in letters responding to mine on asking return of the park back to the people when no longer in use by Boystown.. How people change on gaining power over people, places and highly valued green space. So now we have twelve (12) units going up beside the park,,,what impact will that have on elderly living on the park? Does it matter? Will they be subjected to visual and air pollution from all the unit owners cars, normally two per family?. And PLEASE…let’s not hear this over-development is acceptable because its close to shops. Who dares to cross at a busy 4-way intersection…unsafe for pedestrians. I’ve seen one dead body middle of that intersection and don’t want to see another. People will always drive to shops….how else to get groceries and other goods home?

  4. Totally agree Stewart, trees are not only for wildlife but for us, the people. Where else does our oxygen come from? Redlands used to be known for its green space and the beautiful parks where people could relax and play with their children, walk their dogs and just breathe in the beautiful fresh air.
    So far this Council is not doing so well and the City plan only cares for the developers. The people and koalas don’t seem to matter. We can make submissions until the cows come home but will they listen? I doubt it.

  5. The Redlands Council must change the draft plan to better look after the trees, we cannot have every developer coming onto properties and destroying all the green that is part of the Redlands beauty.
    The Koalas also will not be happy along with all the local wild life.
    We as a world need trees more that ever, and we cannot give developers a free reign as they ALWAYS cause destruction and decimation when there are no laws to stop them.

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