Homebuyers who purchase property in new suburbs across Macarthur must plant trees in their front and backyards under a new rule aiming to prevent such estates from becoming heat islands.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s Greenfield Housing 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 new home built under the Greenfield Housing Code in complying developments.
In Macarthur these areas include Oran Park, Appin, Menangle Park, Bardia, Leppington, Gledswood Hills, Raby, Wilton, Spring Farm and more.
A planning department spokeswoman said home owners in these suburbs were eligible for a $40 Bunnings voucher to purchase trees.
“To help increase tree canopy cover and reduce urban heat in western Sydney, the NSW Government is giving away a free tree to anyone building a new home under complying development in greenfield areas including Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly,” she said.
“The rule on tree planting only applies to new homes built using the Greenfield Housing Code.”
The department hopes increasing the number of trees will help to reduce the heat island effect in new communities, produce cleaner air and improve property values over time.
You won’t get a very big tree for $40 – the government should be giving people two free mature trees to plant in their yards.Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan
Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak said the free tree plan was a positive initiative.
“Any additional trees planted is a positive,” she said.
“It will take years for the trees to be big enough to provide cover but it is important to establish them now and hopefully they will be a bonus in years to come.
“Obviously the trees will have to be suitable for people’s yards and planted in the right location.”
Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan said there were some issues with the tree planting initiative.
“Trees have been removed to make way for new homes in the first place – one or two new trees is going to take a long time to have any real effect on the heat,” she said.
“People may not even have the capacity to grow a big enough tree to provide shade cover depending on block sizes.
“You won’t get a very big tree for $40 – the government should be giving people two free mature trees to plant in their yards.”
To apply for the free tree voucher, visit: planningportal.nsw.gov.au/freetree.