Shoalhaven City Council has issued a stern warning to would be tree vandals following a large section of dune vegetation illegally cleared along Mollymook foreshore.
Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act – Development it is illegal to remove trees without consent and can result in hefty fines.
“People need to stop taking into their own hands to cut, trim or clear vegetation,” Shoalhaven City Council ranger Jodie Parnell said.
“We are hearing about trees being cut down after they are dead and without witnesses so we can't do anything about it.
“We want people to watch and listen, and let us know if they see anything like sawing off branches or people using hedge trimmers.
“The issue with clearing is that the tree might be outside of house a, but it might not be them who cut it. It could be house b, or c, because they have wanted to improve their view in that direction.”
When people buy a house that didn't have a view, but they cut down trees or hack into them to create one; besides compromising dunes and wildlife, they aren’t doing themselves any favours. They could find themselves in the land and environment court facing fines of up to $100,000.- Jodie Parnerll
Ms Parnell said the incident at Mollymook isn’t an isolated with illegal vegetation clearing happening right along the South Coast.
“It's not just Mollymook it's Kioloa, Bawley Point, Tabourie,” she said.
“It’s for the view, it's always for the view. They are just being selfish.
“When people buy a house that didn't have a view, but they cut down trees or hack into them to create one; besides compromising dunes and wildlife, they aren’t doing themselves any favours.
“They could find themselves in the land and environment court facing fines of up to $100,000.”
The environment is there for everyone, not just for someone looking for a better view from their lounge room.- Jodie Parnell
A Bawley Point resident received a $3,000 fine earlier in the year and a Vincentia resident an $8,000 fine last year for similar actions regarding vegetation on sand dunes.
Shoalhaven City Council have reminded residents they are never allowed to clear vegetation on council or crown land.
“It needs to be known that people are watching and listening,” Ms Parnell said.
“People think they can get away with it and some do, but they need to know what can happen to them.
“If they are passionate about keeping the reserve in front of their land free of weeds and debris then I suggest they join a Bushcare group.”
Council has warned they will take swift action when trees are damaged or removed without permission and where they are able to identify the culprits.
“It is never okay to remove trees from public land,” Ms Parnell said.
“The environment is there for everyone, not just for someone looking for a better view from their lounge room.
“People need to be aware of their surrounds and not be afraid to call us if they see or think someone is doing something illegal.”
Approval for the removal of native trees on private land is also often required.
More information regarding tree removal can be found at www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/My-Property/Trees-on-my-land .
For further information or assistance in determining whether you need approval you can contact Council’s Environmental Services section on (02) 4429 3610.
If you see trees being removed and you suspect the work is illegal you can contact Council’s Rangers Section (02) 4429 3433 for investigation.
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