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$25,000 fine for breach of district plan tree rule

Auckland City Council
Media release

30 April 2008

$25,000 fine for breach of district plan tree rules

Auckland City Council has prosecuted a developer for ignoring district plan rules on generally protected trees, sediment control and earthworks.

A number of generally protected trees were destroyed, pruned or topped by the developer on his Hillsborough site. Although he had obtained resource consent for development of the site, no application for resource consent was made for this specific activity.

Earthworks were also carried out on the site in excess of district plan limits for the zone and without adequate sediment control measures being put in place.

The council served two abatement notices to the defendant. His failure to fix the matters led to charges under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Auckland District Court’s Judge Dwyer looked at the gravity and the seriousness of the offence, stating that the evidence showed that the defendant had “decimated the significant and protected trees” on the property.

The judge accepted that most people would not be familiar with district plan rules, but by deciding to undertake the business of property development, the defendant was obliged to be familiar with the rules under which he was required to operate, even though he is a sole operator subdividing his own section.

“This is a serious case of breaching the district plan tree protection rules because of the number of trees destroyed or damaged and because of the impact of that on the neighbourhood,” Judge Dwyer said.

Jackie Wilkinson, Auckland City Environments, says the prosecution sends a clear message about the council’s strong stance on the protection of the city’s trees.

“The developer was fined $25,000. This is a substantial fine and demonstrates how seriously we take non-compliance with the district plan.”

“We are also in the process of completing an enforcement order, including remedial planting and a long-term maintenance plan, which will be paid for by the defendant,” she said.


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