Cut the red tape: council won’t trim trees despite solar benefits

Cut the red tape: council won’t trim trees despite solar benefits

“PIG headed and belligerent” is how Pinjarra resident Adele Butler describes the Shire of Murray.

Mrs Butler claims six gum trees on a vacant block next door are costing her hundreds of dollars in energy bills.

All she wants is for the tops of the trees to be pruned so the sun can reach her solar panels.

“As pensioners we scrimped and scraped to get the solar panels in,” she said.

“We used to be about $400 in credit but now we pay more than $100 in electricity bills.

“Our heating bill has more than doubled.

“We have lost 30 per cent of our solar collection and the house is in shade most of the day for about five months.

“It’s only going to get worse as the trees get taller.”

Mrs Butler said she loves the gum trees and only wants the tops trimmed.

Shire of Murray chief executive Dean Unsworth said protecting and enhancing the environment was a priority recognised within the Shire of Murray 2030 Strategic Community Plan.

“Trees contribute significantly to health and wellbeing and conservation,” he said.

“The Shire accepts that in this instance solar cells installed in 2011/2012 are being shaded.

“Previously pruning has occurred following requests by Mrs Butler to address safety concerns.”

Mr Unsworth said the Shire was willing to continue to work with Mrs Butler to find an effective way forward that is cost neutral to the community and that supports positive environmental outcomes, in this particular case.

“The Shire currently does not have renewable energy targets, but plan to develop a holistic energy and water efficiency strategy,” he said.