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New regulation for tree trimming a win for regional towns

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The new approach reduces the amount of tree trimming required around low voltage powerlines, without compromising safety. It also means a better visual outcome in our streets.

In a win-win for electricity consumers and local communities, State Cabinet has approved regulations allowing SA Power Networks to change its approach to tree trimming in regional towns with a population exceeding 10,000.

We are now able to take a risk-based approach to pruning trees around low voltage powerlines in non-bushfire risk areas (NBFRA) in rural towns. Due to the higher risk, existing clearances will apply in situations where there are high voltage powerlines (11,000 Volts or greater), or where low and high voltage powerlines co-exist.

Port Augusta and Murray Bridge will be the first regional towns to be scoped and pruned to the new risk-based requirement under the three year trimming cycle.

Trees under higher voltage powerlines will continue to be pruned to regulated clearances, but for most of the street-level 240 Volt powerlines, trees will be allowed to grow through and around lines.

Announcing the decision, Minister for Energy, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said trees played a critical role in making urban and township environments attractive places to live. “Allowing vegetation to grow through low voltage powerlines will end the practice of disfiguring trees for no tangible safety benefit,” he said.

“The same regulations were put in place for Adelaide in 2010 and the results are plain to see. Improving the tree canopy will reduce air pollution, reduce the heat island effect and support more birdlife,” he said.

Other towns that will follow the risk-based approach as they take their turn in the three-year NBFRA trimming cycle are Mount Gambier, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Victor Harbor, Mt Barker, Gawler and Goolwa.

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