Trees and powerlines

Planting trees near powerlines

Trees and vegetation that are too close to powerlines can catch fire, give people electric shocks and damage electrical infrastructure and property, see Vegetation near powerlines.

When planting trees near powerlines ensure that you follow the guidance on this page and always maintain adequate clearance between the vegetation and powerlines.

Planting limitations

There are limitations regarding the type and location of trees and vegetation you can plant near powerlines. These are set out in the Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2010 .

It is a legal requirement to maintain a safe clearance zone around any applicable trees on a property you occupy or own, see Vegetation clearance near powerlines.

Compliance with the planting limitations will reduce the amount of pruning work needed to maintain this clearance zone on your property in the future.

Which trees are allowed

Tree species with a mature height of two metres or less are exempt from planting restrictions.

To find out which species of trees you can plant see the list of trees that can be planted near powerlines or use the Plant Selector online database – refine your search and choose 'under powerlines' from the placement menu.

The mature height of the tree affects how close it can be planted to particular types of powerlines. See planting distances below.

Planting distances

The regulations set out specific planting distances for trees planted near overhead powerlines in designated bushfire risk areas and non-bushfire risk areas. There are also planting distances from underground powerlines.

Bushfire risk areas are defined in the Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2010 .

Most of the Adelaide metropolitan area and many developed townships are non-bushfire risk areas under the regulations. Find out if your property is in a bushfire risk area by viewing the maps of the bushfire risk areas in South Australia in schedule 4 of the Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2010 or contact the Office of the Technical Regulator.

Planting limitations only apply if you intend to plant trees within a certain distance from the centreline of the powerlines. These distances depend on the voltage of the powerline and whether you live in a designated bushfire risk area.

Voltage of the powerline Prescribed clearance distance from the centre line of the powerline
275kV   12.5 metres
132kV (Excluding single pole lines)   15.0 metres
132kV (Single pole)   10.0 metres
66kV  6.5 metres
All other voltages  6.0 metres

Bushfire risk areas – planting near overhead powelines

Planting within the prescribed distance

For bare powerline conductors (wires) only trees from list 1 and trees with a mature height of less than 2 metres can be planted.

For insulated powerline conductors (wires) only trees from list 1 and list 2 and trees with a mature height of less than 2 metres can be planted.

Planting within the area from the prescribed distance to double the prescribed distance

Only trees from list 1 and list 2 and trees with a mature height of less than 2 metres can be planted.

Planting beyond double the prescribed distance

Any tree can be planted.

Planting prescribed distances for bare conductors in bushfire risk areas

Non-bushfire risk areas – planting near overhead powelines

Planting within the prescribed distance

Only trees from list 1 and list 2 and trees with a mature height of less than 2 metres can be planted.

Planting beyond the prescribed distance

Any tree can be planted.

Planting prescribed distances in non-bushfire areas and insulated powerlines in all areas

Planting near underground powerlines

Near an underground supply line of 66kV or more only trees from list 1 and trees with a mature height of less than 2 metres can be planted within 3 metres of the centre of the underground powerline.

Planting near underground powerlines

For detailed information on planting distances near powerlines refer to the Electricity (Principles of vegetation clearance) Regulations 2010 .

Applying for an exemption

The Technical Regulator may grant an exemption from planting restrictions. If you intend to plant a tree near a powerline that is not permitted by the regulations, you must apply for an exemption.

Except for timber plantations, the Technical Regulator may grant an exemption from planting restrictions following consultation with the electricity network operator.

The exemption typically includes conditions that a person must manage and maintain the vegetation and clearance distances and that it wil be reviewed if the occupier or owner of the property changes.

Trees that are permitted to be planted under an exemption from planting restrictions will still need to be kept trimmed to the regulation distance from the powerlines.


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Page last updated 13 April 2017

Provided by:
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-electricity-and-gas-safely/powerline-safety/trees-and-powerlines/planting-trees-near-powerlines
Last Updated:
13/04/17
Printed on:
16/12/17
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016