Around 16,000 trees, most along roadways, are expected to be removed to build North East Link as well as up to 52 hectares of native vegetation. A further 10,000 trees could also be impacted.
Keeping as many of these trees as we can is a major priority for the project and strict Environmental Performance Requirements (EPRs) are in place to do this.
Work to minimise the number of trees that need to be removed is happening now as part of detailed design work and construction planning.
Where tree removal cannot be avoided we’ll work closely with qualified ecologists and arborists to carefully plan and manage this.
A comprehensive assessment will be done to confirm the location and number of trees to be removed so they can be replaced through new planting, either in the same location or nearby.
More than 30,000 trees will be planted for the North East Link Project with at least 2 trees planted for every 1 removed.
But we’re not just counting how many trees go in the ground, we’re counting what they do. We’re working towards achieving a net gain in tree canopy cover by 2045.
Tree canopy is what you see when you look up, the cover from branches and leaves. Over time, trees planted for North East Link will grow to provide more of this cover than has been removed – helping to create a greener north and east.
As well as keeping as many trees as we can while we build North East Link, we’ll plant as many trees as possible as close as possible to where they have been removed. We’ll also plant trees to shade and cool local areas nearby.
Planting in places where trees have had to be removed for construction will start as soon as works in the area are finished or when the new trees can be protected.
Planting close to the project and in local suburbs nearby has already started and there will be opportunities to for the community to get involved later this year.
We’ve set these three planting priorities to help guide our work.
Tree planting priority 1
Along and near North East Link, as close as possible to where trees have been removed for construction. These trees will mostly help create green buffers between homes, noise walls and roads and to shade new or upgraded walking and cycling paths.
Tree planting priority 2
As close to construction areas as possible, ideally within 400 metres. These trees will help keep the benefits of new planting as close as possible to where trees have been removed. Trees planted near construction areas will mostly enhance existing parks, walking and cycling paths and community facilities.
Tree planting priority 3
Across the six council areas the project passes through – Banyule, Nillumbik, Manningham, Boroondara, Whitehorse and Yarra. These trees will help improve the look and feel of local areas and contribute to a healthier, better connected urban forest. We'll be guided by councils and local needs.
Because we’re working to achieve a net gain in tree canopy cover by 2045, it’s very important to us that trees planted for North East Link establish well, stay healthy and continue to grow.
We’ll be looking carefully at what’s needed to support trees and plants over the long-term including soil quality and requirements for ongoing maintenance.
Getting the planting conditions and maintenance right will vary from location to location. At Belle Vue Primary School, we installed an irrigation system to ensure the trees and plants get enough water. Other locations may need different approaches.
We've heard what the community has had to say about the River Red Gum on Bridge Street, Bulleen next to the Caltex Service Station site.
Builders working on final designs for the project will make every effort to preserve the tree, which is estimated to be 300 years old. However, this is among the most challenging areas of the project. It's near entry and exit points for the twin tunnels that will pass under the Yarra River and protect sensitive environmental and residential areas.
We know this tree has great significance to the community and are working to ensure we can grow new trees from its seeds if needed.
Yes, there will be opportunities starting from 2021 to comment on landscape plans for planting along the project.
We’re also working with local nurseries and social enterprises to plant the first trees for the North East Link Project – helping to support local businesses, jobs and communities.
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