Divide on Tree Felling

There are many different points of view on the felling of trees.

Tree Felling: In recent years, Cape Town has seen a rise in the subdividing of enormous swaths of land, which has led to the leveling of a considerable number of erven and the cutting down of older trees. As a result of this, a large number of erven have been leveled. Others believe that this pattern is the result of landowners being unable to maintain their properties in changing economic times or the result of the city’s and developers’ desire to increase revenue. Some people believe that this pattern is the result of the city’s strategy to increase density. Other people believe that this pattern is the result of the city’s strategy to increase density. There has been much discussion over the factors that led to this trend. Some individuals are under the impression that this is the consequence of deliberate efforts made by the city to boost its population density.

Regardless of the reasons that may have led to such actions, the consequences are felt not only by the people who wake up to stark, barren areas where there were once lush gardens, but also by the natural system that sustains urban trees and forests. This is because the inhabitants wake up to stark, barren regions where there were once lush gardens. We want to try and cut down the deforestation of all our exotic trees around our country

Tirzah Webb is a local resident who works as a landscape architect and is a member of TreeKeepers. She is also an advocate for the organization. An group called TreeKeepers has been formed by local residents in order to work in conjunction with the city government and the broader public in order to protect urban forests and trees. Webb awoke in the morning to the sound of chainsaws being used to cut down trees that were more than 40 years old on a property in Bel Ombre, Constantia, that was in the process of being subdivided. During the time, the address of the property was 5 Ringwood Close.

Do you suffer from Temporomandibular disorder?

According to Webb, prior to the passing of the property’s previous owner, Judy Smuts, in January of 2019, the home had been up for sale for a substantial amount of time and was available to prospective buyers. It was eventually sold in 2020, but the new owner’s plans were not made clear until November of that same year, when a tree-felling crew arrived at the property. Although the property had been sold in 2020, it was not clear until November of that year who the new owner was.

“The vegetation on the entire site was removed in order to get it ready for the leveling process. It was necessary to remove every tree, shrub, and blade of grass, in addition to the topsoil, which is a highly valuable commodity in our landscape and is an extremely important and pricey component for the establishment of any new garden. This was done in order to prepare the land for the planting of new vegetation “It is clarified by her.

One mature carob tree that was between 50 and 80 years old and other mature London Plane trees that were between 40 and 60 years old were among the trees that were felled. A prime specimen of a water-conserving species native to the Mediterranean region is the carob tree. Webb emphasizes that the removal of a single massive tree requires the planting of at least ten other trees in order to replicate all of the ecological functions that are provided by a mature tree. This is the case even if the tree in question was just a few decades old.

Webb further argues that the tree-felling crew took down a tree that was 80 years old and located on an adjacent property (Three Picardie Avenue) without first seeking permission from the owner of that property. Webb’s property is adjacent to Three Picardie Avenue. People’s Post was able to get in touch with the residents of the two homes, and although they confirmed that the sign had been taken down, they denied further comment.

The One Most Crucial Reason for Taking Down All These Trees

Webb believes that the primary reason for removing all of the trees was to obtain better views of the mountain, and she further claims that the tree-felling team attempted to remove or cut branches off a street tree in order to make a better-sized entrance to the property. Webb believes that the primary reason for the removal of all of the trees was to obtain better views of the mountain. Webb is under the impression that the crew that was responsible for removing the trees also pruned the branches of a street tree in order to make the access to the property more spacious. We were successful in preventing this from taking place as a direct result of TreeKeepers’ participation.

According to Clare Burgess, the chair of TreeKeepers, an illegal activity would have been taking place if the group that was cutting down trees had been allowed to continue doing so. The activity in question was chopping down trees without a permit. According to the City’s Tree Policy, no private person is allowed to touch a tree that is owned by the Council without first seeking permission in writing from the City. This regulation may be found in the City’s Tree Policy.

The laws that are in place to save trees.

While trees that are located on City land, such as all street verges, public places, and parks, are protected and cannot be pruned or removed without the prior written permission of the City’s Recreation and Parks Department, the protection that is afforded to trees that are located on privately owned properties is significantly less stringent. This is because the City does not have jurisdiction over privately owned properties.

As long as the erf is not situated within a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ) or has another type of statutory protection against tree removal, a developer or owner is permitted to remove trees from their property, as stated by Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s Mayco member for spatial planning and environment.

According to Nieuwoudt, “if trees are removed from a property within an HPOZ without authorization, then the owner of the property will be required to submit an administrative penalty application and pay a fine determined by the City’s Municipal Planning Tribunal for contravening the City’s Municipal Planning Bylaw.” This is because the removal of trees from a property in an HPOZ without authorization is a violation of the City’s Municipal Planning Bylaw.

Trees That Belong to Certain Species That Are Preserved

The efforts of the National Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries have resulted in the provision of some level of protection for trees that are situated on land that is privately held (DEFF). It is the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Forestry (DEFF) to ensure that the National Forests Act (No. 84 of 1998) is upheld. This law, which protects 47 different tree species from being cut down, was passed in 1998. Anyone who intends to cut, disrupt, damage, or destroy these protected trees must first obtain permission or an exemption from DEFF. Otherwise, they are not allowed to do any of those things.

Each individual tree and each group of trees that are classified as Champion trees in line with the Act are subject to the same restrictions. These limits apply to both the individual trees and the groups of trees. However, in the case that an application for a subdivision or rezoning is presented to the City, the City may require that specific trees on the site be retained in order to fulfill the requirements of the application.

Council’s Requirements

The Council may require developers to start the application process by engaging the services of an arborist and submitting a tree study if the circumstances warrant such a requirement. This requirement will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. “If the trees are considered to be of significant significance, then it is probable that it will be necessary for them to be preserved in their current locations. Numerous characteristics, such as substantial size, age, rare species, distinctive form, creation of vital habitat, association with a person or event, contribution to the personality of an area, inclusion as a component of an avenue, or landmark characteristics, can confer significance. Some of these characteristics include: “Nieuwoudt explains.

On the other hand, a tree survey of this kind is not normally required for something like this. This is something that only comes into play if there are protected trees on the site, if the property is located in an area that is designated as an HPOZ, or if there are applicable land-use constraints.

To cite just one example:

It will be difficult to demonstrate whether or not any of these pre-existing grounds for protection would have been applicable because the hacked-up remnants of the trees on the Ringwood Close property have been removed for a considerable amount of time. This is due to the fact that the trees were removed quite some time ago. The fact that the land in question had already been partitioned and that the subdivision had been approved more than fifty years earlier further complicates the situation.

According to Nieuwoudt, the original owners of the property, Judy Smuts and JV Smuts, submitted an application to the Provincial Administration in 1978 for the subdivision of the property into six portions, and it was approved at that time. The application was approved because Judy Smuts and JV Smuts were the original owners of the property. 1979 was the year that saw the sale of each of erven 8093, 8094, 8095, and 8096 on their own. “As a result of this, the piece of real estate in question is referred to as residual Erf 8091, and it also comprises unregistered Erfs 8092 and 8093 that are situated in the Constantia area. Both of these locations may be found on Ringwood Close, at number 5 and number 4, respectively “she explains.

According to Nieuwoudt, the subdivision rights have not been lost and are still in effect because erven have been sold and registered in the time after they were initially purchased. This is evidenced by the fact that the rights remain valid. If the development plans of the new owner or developer do not conflict with the Development Management Scheme (DMS) of the City, any restrictive title deed conditions, or any other applicable legislation, then they will not be required by law to resubmit those plans to the City for approval. This is because the law exempts them from the requirement that they comply with any other restrictive title deed conditions.

The city’s blueprints, so to speak

The City has included “urban densification” as one of its top priorities in the Municipal Spatial Development Framework that it has created. On the other hand, the City has stated that it will do what it can to ensure that the urban forest canopy is preserved in as much of its original form as possible “in order to develop a more resilient city to deal with climate change.” Despite the fact that increasing urban density has been designated as a top goal, this help has been provided. “Open space and vegetation, particularly trees, serve crucial social and economic functions, and the city is currently embarking on a Green Infrastructure Project to realize this fact. Trees in particular provide essential social and economic activities. In addition to a “Best Practice Guideline for Trees” that has been drafted and disseminated, the program is planned to be carried out through a range of different channels. In the not too distant future, there will also be discussion regarding the possibility of amending the laws that are already in place “says Nieuwoudt.

These two objectives, which appear to be in direct competition with one another, will need to be carefully weighed against one another in order to determine whether or not the City will be able to strike the appropriate balance between them. On the other hand, in light of the fact that an increasing number of residents have voiced their concern regarding the felling of older trees, the city may need to reevaluate its objectives in order to protect the natural environment while also ensuring that a healthy balance is maintained between the growth of development and other factors.


As a result of urbanization and development, cutting down older trees has become an issue that is laden with controversy in Cape Town. This is a conclusion that can be drawn from the previous statement. Even if there are laws that protect trees, the protection that is afforded to trees on a case-by-case basis is insufficient.

Other articles that might interest you

Facts on this article was based on article found on News24

Scroll to top