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Important information about trees neaR Power lines

The safety and reliability concerns about trees near power lines are so strong in New Zealand that there are regulations covering what you and your power company must do about trees near the power lines. 

Long story short, if the trees on your property are within the ‘legal growth zone’, they must be cut.


How close is too close?

The Regulations state exactly how close trees may come to power lines before cutting or trimming is required. These zones are known as the Growth Limit Zone and the Notice Zone.

  • Growth Limit Zone -  This zone is the space around the power line (measured in metres) where trees must not encroach, even in windy or stormy conditions.
  • Notice Zone - This zone is one metre beyond the Growth Limit Zone.
  • Controlled access zone - is four meters from any overhead conductor.   Only Counties Power approved contractors may cut or trim a tree which is within 4m of an overhead line.

If your trees are encroaching on the growth limit zone, you will be issued a cut or trim notice.   You must respond to a cut or trim notice as obligated under the regulations.

Overhead line 

Growth limit zone  (GLZ)

Notice zone (NZ)

110kV 4m 5m
33kV 2.5m 3.5m
22kV 2m 3m
11kV 1.6m 2.6m
400V / 230V 0.5m 1.5m

Who pays?

Under the regulations, land owners are legally obliged to keep trees on their property from encroaching on the notice zone of a power line.  If Counties Power becomes aware of a tree encroaching on the growth limit zone, you will be issued one of two notices: 

  • First cut or trim notice may be issued when the following criteria is met and will result in Counties Power providing a cut at no cost if:
    • Our records show the tree has not received a previous cut or trim at Counties Power cost
    • The tree owner grants access to the site
    • The tree has not been subject to a prior agreement.

The tree owner is responsible and liable for the costs of any future maintenance of the tree to ensure it does not encroach on a notification zone.

  • Cut or trim notice will be issued when the tree has previously received a free first cut or trim and the tree is within the growth limit zone of the conductor.   Under legislation the tree owner will be charged if Counties Power is required to cut or trim the tree back to the notification zone.

Declaring no interest

In some situations you can avoid the expense of tree trimming by declaring no interest in a tree near lines owned by Counties Power.  Declaring no interest is governed under section 15 ‘No-interest tree notice’ of the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulation 2003.

Declaring no interest must be submitted online using our 'no interest' form.  If your tree meets the criteria within the regulations, Counties Power will take over responsibility for trimming, cutting or removing the tree. 


stay safe - use a professional

Trimming or felling trees around power lines is very dangerous and could result in electrocution or serious injury from electric shock.  To trim a tree growing within within 4 metres of a power line., by law, only only qualified and approved utility arborists  permitted to underetake this work. 

If all parts of the tree are more than 4 metres away from overhead lines, you can safely trim the tree yourself or hire an arborist to trim the tree for you.

If any part of the tree is within 4 metres of the line or you have received a cut or trim notice from Counties Power, you must engage the services of a professional arborist who is authorised to work near power lines.  This is to ensure your safety and the safety of others.


DISPENSATION

The tree owner may apply to Counties Power Ltd for dispensation from cutting or trimming the tree within the Growth Limit Zone.  Any application must be made no later than five working days from the date of receipt of a notice via letter or email.


arbitration

The tree owner may apply to an arbitrator if dispensation is not granted, or if the tree owner disagrees with the terms of any dispensation.  Any application must be made no later than five working days from receipt of notice regarding that dispensation. Contact details for arbitrators are:

Terry Cochrane, PO BOX 5848, Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141

terry.cochrane@opus.co.nz  

 

Brad Cadwallader, 33 Cropp Place, Richmond, Nelson 7020

brad.cadwallader@paradise.net.nz 


Urgent trims

Electricity distributors have some clear responsibilities for safety and power supply reliability.  If a tree poses an immediate threat to safety or to the reliably of power supply, Counties Power or its contractors may trim the tree, without asking, in accordance with section 14 of the tree regulations. 

If a cut or trim notice has been previously issued, the tree owner is liable for the direct costs of the work. 


What if I do nothing

Under the regulations if you receive a 'cut or trim' notice, doing nothing is not an option.  A tree owner is obligated to action a first cut or trim notice or a cut or trim notice.  If the tree owner fails to act on this notice, under the ‘offences committed by a tree owner’ the tree owner is liable in conviction up to $10,000. 


HOW DO I INFORM YOU OF A TREE ENCROACHING LINES?

To submit information on a tree which is encroaching on an overhead line, click here.

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