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Trial to removal saplings under powerlines

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SA Power Networks is partnering with the Adelaide Hills Council to trial removing saplings under powerlines to reduce bushfire risk in the Gumeracha area.

‘The region is an ideal location as sapling growth has been prolific since the Sampson Flat fires in January 2015,’ an SA Power Networks spokesperson said.

Self-seeded saplings under powerlines stretching 69 spans (a span is the distance between two poles) will be removed from Gumeracha Weir, Chain of Ponds and Forreston with a focus on Checkers Hill which has a heavy concentration of saplings. The clearance area includes public roadsides and land owned by SA Water, Forestry SA and privately-owned land.

‘Up to 40 per cent of power outages can be attributed to interaction between trees and powerlines which can play a significant role in the potential for fire starts in bushfire prone areas,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Removing the self-seeded saplings will reduce how often we need to clear vegetation from near powerlines which lessens the number of outages and risk of bushfires.’

Low maintenance and diverse native shrubs and grasses suitable for under powerlines in a high bushfire risk area will be planted in appropriate locations after the saplings have been removed.

After a review of the trial, SA Power Networks will investigate removing saplings in other areas in consultation with councils.

‘This trial is part of our broader vegetation management strategy to work more collaboratively with stakeholders,’ the spokesperson said.

The work will take place in June and July 2018 outside of township areas in bushfire risk areas and is endorsed by the Native Vegetation Council and Adelaide Hills Council. The trial will cost $10,000 which is considerably less than ongoing tree trimming.

For further information, please contact SA Power Networks Media: 0403 582 500

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