Greening Sydney’s Light Rail route

14 January 2016

Two new reports outlining the environmental impacts of tree pruning and removal along the route of the CBD and South East Light Rail are now available at Sydney Light Rail.

The Arboricultural Impact Assessment, or Tree Report, details the impacts on trees and vegetation in and around the light rail construction zone, and recommends measures to prevent the removal of and minimise damage to trees. The ALTRAC Light Rail Revegetation Compensation Package outlines the work management plans that will be undertaken.

Project Director Sydney Light Rail Andrew Summers said the project team was working to retain as many trees as possible along the route.

“I can assure communities and our customers that we are committed to keeping or replanting trees rather than removing them, wherever feasible,” Mr Summers said.

“Significantly more trees will be planted as a result of light rail than will be removed, meaning the route will be greener than ever.

“Some tree pruning and removal along the route is unavoidable, due to safety clearances needed around the light rail track, stops and overhead wiring, and the constraints of work on or near roads where space is limited.

“We understand that this is an important issue for the community, as is the need for sustainable public transport. The light rail is an environmentally focused project and has considerable sustainability commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and noise pollution by providing clean, reliable public transport.”

Measures in place to protect vegetation along the light rail route include:

  • For every tree removed during construction, between two and eight new trees will be planted, each measuring three to four metres tall;
  • Two trees will be planted for every small tree removed, four for every medium tree, and eight for every significant tree;
  • Between 1,800 and 2,200 new trees will be planted in the City of Sydney and Randwick City Council areas;
  • Almost 900 new trees will be planted along the light rail route.

“Significant trees have already been saved in High Cross Park with the change of the terminus location to High Street and we will continue to look at ways to save as many trees as is practical,” Mr Summers said.

“An independent arborist has been appointed to review the impacts on trees across the route and an ecologist will assess all trees for fauna such as possums and birds. Qualified wildlife professionals will carefully relocate fauna before any tree removal starts.”

A list of approved species for replacement trees has been provided by the Department of Planning & Environment. The species and location of these trees will be determined in consultation with the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, Randwick City Council, the Australian Turf Club and the City of Sydney.