The Expert Panel conducting the Planning System Implementation Review has made it clear that greater protection for trees is a priority for the community.
It is anticipated that this will lead to changes to the laws around which trees are protected and the circumstances in which trees are excluded from protection.
It is reasonable to speculate that amongst other possible changes to tree protection laws, the present exemptions for trees within 10m of existing dwellings or swimming pools will be modified.
The anticipated changes to which trees are protected could have consequences for projects which have already been approved, or development applications which have been lodged but not yet determined.
Where a development approval is premised upon the removal of a non-regulated tree and that tree becomes regulated as a result of legislative change prior to its removal, development approval will be required to remove the tree.
In simple terms, the fact of holding a development approval or having already lodged a development application will not necessarily protect a development from being impacted by the likely changes.
Unless the legislative changes include transitional provisions protecting existing applications and approvals, it is likely that some projects will be caught out.
If you have any queries about regulated or non-regulated trees please contact Botten Levinson Lawyers on 08 8212 9777.