A community petition has been launched through the NSW Parliament against the harsh tree pruning undertaken by Ausgrid around Newcastle power lines.
Severe cutbacks of street trees are often undertaken by the energy utility, removing the majority of leafy growth or cutting holes in the tree’s canopy through which power lines pass.
State Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp has endorsed the petition for listing in the Parliament, which calls on the State Government to direct Ausgrid to:
1. Undertake an urgent review of their vegetation management policies and pruning practices;
2. Investigate the installation of aerial bundled cables in the tree lined streets of Newcastle to reduce the need for harsh pruning;
3. Review how often trees are pruned with a view to increasing the frequency so such harsh pruning is not required; and
4. Engage and consult with the Newcastle community regarding tree pruning expectations.
“Not only does the pruning often look unsightly, we also lose the urban cooling benefits street trees provide and the risk of tree failure increases,” Mr Crakanthorp said.
“The current pruning practices under power lines are not meeting the community’s or my expectations.
“This can be done so much better, and the NSW Government needs to step up to make this happen.”
Petitioner Matthew Mooney said that energy companies need to show that they have an environmental and social conscience.
“There’s a climate change conversation happening at every dinner table around the country, yet we’ve got energy companies tearing down our suburban forest,” he said.
“When people see that the place that they call home has had their trees vandalised in this way it’s an emotional thing.”
Online petitions have recently been introduced by the NSW Parliament and will remain open for three months. The petition can be at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/pages/epetitions-list.aspx