Small blocks not exempt from government's tree planting plan

Tim Pickles. Picture: Facebook

Tim Pickles. Picture: Facebook

One of Macarthur’s leading horticulturalists thinks the state government’s plan to have more trees planted in front and back yards is too little, too late.

Tim’s Garden Centre owner Tim Pickles said smaller block sizes and skinnier roads had stopped residents from having trees and gardens.

“We have twice the amount of houses and double the amount of cars on our streets,” he said.

“By the time people’s kids have cars they want to park on the lawn or the nature strip because the roads are too narrow to park on the road which means there is no room for trees.

“The government is basically setting up people to kill trees.”

Residents took to social media last week to share Mr Pickles concerns about the Greenfield Housing Code.

The new code, which took effect last month, requires at least one tree to be planted in the front yard and one tree to be planted in the backyard at each complying development home built under the Greenfield Housing Code.

People on blocks as small as 200 square metres will be required to plant multiple trees in their yard under the code.

Mr Pickles said while there were suitable trees for smaller blocks, it may be difficult to maintain them.

“We’re lucky to have some Australian native trees that can be grown on smaller blocks and are suitable for the Macarthur environment,” he said.

“Bottlebrush is one of the toughest trees and Blueberry Ash is good for bringing birds into the garden.

“There is also grafted Eucalypts, spring blossoms and Crepe Myrtle grows well in our harsh, dry climate.

“People also have to remember to chop the lower branches off the trees as they grow so that you can park the car underneath them.”

Mr Pickles said while the initiative was a step in the right direction, there was still a long way to go.

“I am glad the government is thinking about the trees,” he said.

“There needs to be more trees because without them all we have is concrete, roofs, asphalt and more air pollution.”

New home owners will be required to plant trees under the Greenfield Housing Code.

New home owners will be required to plant trees under the Greenfield Housing Code.

A Department of Planning and Environment spokeswoman said the new tree planting rule only applied to homes built in greenfield or new release estates.

She said these homes would have to qualify as a “complying development” under the code.

“We’re keen to make sure that residents in Macarthur, and across the state, are clear on what the Greenfield Housing Code means for them,” she said.

“The community has told us that green spaces and tree canopy cover are really important to them and so we’ve introduced a condition in this code which means people building homes by complying development can contribute to our target to double the tree canopy in Sydney by 2030.

“Under the Greenfield Housing Code, people need to plant a tree in their front and backyard

“To help people in Western Sydney meet this condition and contribute to the canopy target, we’re providing 15,000 free trees over three years, in partnership with Bunnings, across a wide range from which people can choose to ensure the trees are suitable for the size and layout of their yards.”

To apply for the $40 free tree Bunnings voucher, visit: planningportal.nsw.gov.au/freetree.