The right tree, in the right place, the right way and at the right time

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Greening Our Streets

Street Tree Management Plan

28 September 2016

The right tree, in the right place, the right way and at the right time”Executive Summary

Our vision for the municipality is that healthy, well managed street trees will be a defining feature of the City’s attractive streetscapes and liveable neighbourhoods.

The social, environmental and economic benefits of street trees make them an inherently valuable asset requiring far less investment than other elements of civic infrastructure.

As outlined in the City of Whittlesea’s Council Plan and Environmental Sustainability Strategy, street trees are an important community asset playing a vital role in the City’s functionality and sustainability.

The City’s street trees line the streets across each suburb, quietly improving the City’s liveability.

They provide a vast wealth of benefits to the community including much needed shade in urban areas and habitat for native wildlife. They contribute significantly to neighbourhood character and positively impact streetscape amenity. They are one of the most efficient cost effective tools for reducing air pollution, stormwater flows, mitigating the urban heat island effect and adapting the City to climate change.

Street trees also play a critical role in place-making, creating a unique sense of place down each street, boulevard and main road, as well as enhancing the unique brand of liveability for the municipality.

The majority of the municipality’s existing street trees are healthy, relatively young and include a diverse array of species. They make the City of Whittlesea a better place to live, work and visit.

Street trees require considerable care, planning and maintenance to ensure that they provide the maximum benefits to the community. To help guide an ongoing commitment to street trees Council has developed Greening Our Streets, the City of Whittlesea’s Street Tree Management Plan.

Our guiding principles are to:

  1. Enhance the community’s sense of place through the provision of attractive tree lined streets

  2. Ensure safe and functional streetscapes through the implementation of best practice street tree management

  3. Ensure social equity through the equitable delivery of the street tree planting programs across all suburbs

  4. Retain street trees through appropriate management

  5. Engage the community and raising awareness of the importance of street trees in influencing positive public health and wellbeing outcomes

  6. Improve the liveability of suburbs by working together across Council, with the community and developers to ensure street trees are adaptable to future changes in climate and maximise the benefits of street trees to the community.

We will achieve our vision by:

  • Planting the right tree, in the place, in the right way, at the right time

  • Achieving a minimum canopy cover of 30% across the urban streetscape

  • Ensuring all urban streets within the City will be lined with uniform tree planting within 10 years

  • Improving the diversity of our street trees, with no individual species or age of tree being over represented

  • Coordinating a 10 year renewal program to fill all approximately 17,000 vacant tree sites

  • Working with developers to improve the number, health and quality of trees being handed to Council in new developments and ensure they meet the appropriate standards

  • Only undertake street tree removals in line with this Street Tree Management Plan and as a last resort.

The Greening Our Streets, City of Whittlesea’s Street Tree Management Plan together with the technical documents will enable the City of Whittlesea to implement best practice management of its street tree population now and for future generations. Its implementation will drive the greening of all residential streets, create beautiful boulevards and provide dappled shade around shopping centres and welcoming gateways into the municipality.

A series of evidence based, comprehensive, technical documents support the plan. They include:

  • A 10-year Street Tree Renewal Program Plan which prioritises streets that require investment for street tree renewal and ensures funds are spent in areas of greatest need

  • A Tree Species Palette which provides clear direction for selecting the right tree, for the right location

  • Technical Guidelines for Street Tree Management which includes a comprehensive set of policies, standards and protocols for tree planting, maintenance, risk management, protection, removal and valuation.

Benefits of the City of Whittlesea’s street trees

Many Councils are recognising the benefits from the shade provided by street trees in reducing the urban heat island effect

The City of Whittlesea’s street trees are very important for the community and the environment as they:

  • provide shade and shelter for pedestrians and cyclists

  • improve the desirability of a neighbourhood and encourage people to spend time outdoors and interact with their community

  • provide the green, open space that is so vital to community health and wellbeing, particularly as urbanisation and densification continues

  • increase economic benefits such as higher property values and improved commercial vitality

  • connect biodiverse locations by creating a green corridor

  • greatly improve the brand and liveability of the City

  • significantly reduce stormwater flows and improve stormwater quality

  • can provide a return on capital of up to five times e.g. New York’s street trees (New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, 2016)

  • are able to deliver a multitude of health and well-being benefits

  • are one of the most cost effective and efficient assets for adapting urban areas to climate change

  • are the best mechanism for reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect (i.e. the build-up of heat in hard surfaces during periods of hot weather).

The Urban Heat Island Effect is the absorption of daytime heat into hard urban surfaces and its release at night time. It is significantly increasing night time minimum temperatures. (, 2015). It is heightened in Melbourne, whereby heatwaves in summer are exacerbated by the urban heat island effect and impacting on human health and wellbeing. Many Councils are recognising the benefits from the shade provided by street trees in reducing the urban heat island effect e.g. City of Melbourne’s Economic Assessment of the Urban Heat Island Effect (2012), and City of Moreland’s Urban Heat Island Action Plan (2016).

Pop up tree facts:

  • Street trees can improve retail activity in commercial areas by 20%*

  • House prices in Brisbane and Perth are higher in streets with street trees (Dunn, 2016) (Pandit, Polyakov, Tapsuwan, & Moran, 2013). 

  • A 10% increase in tree cover can reduce heating and cooling needs by 5-10%*

  • Shade trees reduce daytime temperatures between 5 – 20C*

  • Motorists will drive more slowly along treed streets*

  • Improved street amenity encourages pedestrian activity, especially in areas of socio-economic disadvantage (Van Dillen, et al, 2012).

  • Large healthy trees absorb 60-70 times more air pollution than smaller trees (McPherson et al, 1997).

* (Mullaney, Lucke & Trueman, 2015)

Due to their wide ranging benefits, the City of Whittlesea’s street trees contribute positively to the following Council priorities which are outlined in the Council Plan and the Environmental Sustainability Strategy:

living sustainable, community health and wellbeing, places and spaces for people to connect, sustainable city, integrated transport.

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