10.4 C
Byron Shire
August 15, 2022

Illegal tree feller happy with $11,000 fine

Latest News

Mud benda rant

Regarding last week’s Splendour Festival and all the ‘haters’ out there. I took along a few seriously fun-deprived teenage...

Other News

Council acknowledges desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps

Last night Lismore Council looked at House Relocations, Land swaps and Buy Backs when Councillor Adam Guise’s moved a motion that “Council acknowledges flood impacted ratepayers' desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps."

Cabarita DA refused on character grounds

Tweed Shire Councillors refused a DA for a four-storey block of flats at 2-6 Tweed Coast Road, Cabarita Beach, despite the staff recommendation of approval.

Power of the people

Katherine (Letters, 3 August) asked ‘can the power of the people compete...’? The answer is in the recent federal election:...

Flood residents get $650 from Lismore Council

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg today announced that 1,558 residents will receive a grant of $650 from the Lismore Flood Appeal.

Secrecy surrounds govt’s Reconstruction Corp

Echo questions remain unanswered around the advisory board appointments for the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation, which the NSW government says will help with ‘rebuilding flood-affected Northern Rivers’. 


Who’s with me in launching a class action against Byron and Lismore councils for compensation for us hapless ratepayers...

Luis Feliu

An Upper Main Arm property owner fined $11,000 after pleading guilty to illegally removing 220 trees said he’s happy to have cut them down as it dramatically reduced his fire risk.

Christopher Langton, a well-known local architect and musician, was fined in Mullumbimby Local Court last Thursday on a charge of removing the trees without consent, brought against him by Byron Shire Council under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW).

Council’s governance manager Ralph James said the fine would send a message to other property owners thinking about felling trees illegally and that Council was ‘committed to ensuring land in the Byron Shire is used in a sustainable way’.

But Mr Langton told Echonetdaily he decided to fell the mostly gum trees around the downside slope of his house after the lethal Victorian bush fires two years ago.

He said some fire experts had suggested to him he fell the trees to minimise the fire risk and doing so would give him an ‘asset protection zone’ around his home.

‘But basically, I didn’t get a DA (development application) for it. In the context of a big property with around a million trees here, we’re only talking about a few trees around the house,’ he said.

‘When I first moved here 25 years ago, there were no trees; it’s all now regrowth. In that 25 years there’s been a large amount of forest grow around here because people don’t slash or put cows in paddocks.

‘Since I took the trees down, there’s now a huge amount of rainforest trees so I’m very happy to have taken them down. It’s an absolute boon in terms of fire survival.’

Mr James said, ‘the law does not allow individual property to remove trees arbitrarily. The court noted that this was a serious example of this kind of conduct, given the scale of the tree removal and the property owner’s knowledge that consent was required for such an action,’ he said.

‘The court’s view is reflected in the fact that when Council’s ecologist visited the property, the 220 trees removed included species used as koala habitat.’

Mr James said the law relating to tree removal was designed to prohibit unsustainable practices while giving flexibility to property owners.

‘There is ample scope under Byron Shire Council’s tree preservation order to remove trees that are deemed undesirable. This list contains more than 40 species. And there is no prohibition on pruning or maintenance of trees as part of regular gardening work,’ he said.

Mr James encouraged residents to contact Council if they had questions about tree removal.

Image: Happy… Chris Langton.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Autocracy or democracy for Byron Shire?

The New Yorker Magazine recently wrote a quote from Mr Rupert Murdoch ‘The truth is authoritarian governments do work!’ Hold that thought. It has been...

Criminalising protest

In another Sstate government descent into criminalising protest, to protect their own government’s sabotage of a liveable planet, last Thursday new laws were passed...

Mullum pods

First, Hans Lovejoy’s article ‘emergency wedged’ was educational, factual and provided valuable information to the community. Michele Grant’s letter (27 July) was emotive overgeneralisations...

Flood residents get $650 from Lismore Council

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg today announced that 1,558 residents will receive a grant of $650 from the Lismore Flood Appeal.