The majority of new residential developments will be required to have at least 20% tree canopy coverage under proposed Draft Variation 369 to the ACT Territory Plan.
Until now there have been no requirements for planting trees on private blocks, or limits on house site footprints to ensure that every block has enough soil and space to plant them. This variation positions the ACT as world leaders for creating a sustainable, biodiverse city.
The ACT Greens took a strong commitment to the election of achieving at least 30% tree canopy coverage across Canberra. Reaching our target for tree canopy will cool our suburbs, create an urban wildlife sanctuary and enhance the bush capital values Canberrans and visitors love.
DV369 is a critical component in delivering our tree canopy and living infrastructure commitments. By substantially increasing plantings on public land and reforming the residential estate development code and the Tree Protection Act, we are putting in place the steps we need to get to 30%. We’re also looking at compliance and enforcement measures. These will help protect the trees we already have and increase tree canopy on public and private land to meet our 30% target.
This is about much more than just trees. We are also really excited to introduce site footprint limits and requirements for planting areas on every private block. These have never existed in the ACT before and they are part of what makes this such innovative planning law. They will ensure that living infrastructure is integral to every block in our city. They will create more cooling green space and habitat for wildlife. It’s about how we plan our suburbs in the face of climate change.
A big part of this plan will be talking through concerns with the community. We hope that Canberrans will get behind this change, to welcome trees and permeable surfaces and take the living infrastructure plan into their own backyards.
In a nutshell, DV369 changes planning rules so that new houses being built will have to leave proper space for unpaved backyards and to plant trees. This includes new apartment blocks. As the climate warms, creating more cool green space in our city is vital for our health and comfort. These changes will help Canberra have enough trees and shade across our city to keep us all cool, have enough soil to absorb rainfall, and give wildlife a home in our suburbs.
If you have a question about DV369, CLICK HERE to look at our FAQs.
If you are interested in the breakdown of required tree canopy in each block, CLICK HERE.
- In 2017, the Assembly passed Caroline Le Couteur’s motion calling for a review of the Tree Protection Act, Territory Plan and Government Infrastructure Standards to ‘make room for trees’ in development and to get better protection for existing trees.
- In 2019, Shane Rattenbury, then Minister for Climate Change, set the 30% tree canopy and permeable surfaces target for the city of Canberra.
- The Parliamentary Agreement for the 10th Assembly committed the Labor-Greens government to delivering the 30% tree canopy target and associated actions.
- In 2021 Andrew Braddock successfully passed a motion committing the ACT Government to annual progress updates, to report on the tree canopy percentage in every suburb in Canberra every five years, and support for the community to participate in achieving the tree canopy target. TCCS' report to the Legislative Assembly can be read HERE.
- The Greens’ election commitments on neighbourhood forests are detailed HERE.