Wyndham council has introduced a Significant Tree Register to help protect historic trees in the municipality.

At a meeting last week, the council voted to amend its planning scheme so that anyone wanting to remove, damage or lop a registered tree would need to apply for a planning permit.

A council report noted that while a planning permit would not always prevent someone from removing a historic tree, having a Significant Tree Register would give the council “greater control in the decision-making process”.

Forty trees and groups of trees on public land have been included in the register, including 13 river red gums and 10 pepper trees.

Last year, residents were invited to nominate trees for potential inclusion on the register.

A historian and arborist conducted an assessment of the 120 trees nominated, to decide which ones would be listed on the register.

The report stated the register would initially focus on trees on public realm, and that once the register became operational, the council would review options for including trees on private land.

The report also stated council officers would “ensure” the governor’s gum on the Princes Highway, which was planted in 1928 by the Governor of Victoria, and the Von Mueller trees in Chirnside Park (planted by the family of the botanist instrumental in establishing the city’s botanic gardens) were included in a second round of nominations for the register.

During the council meeting, Cr Mia Shaw said she was disappointed that the Calder Memorial trees had not been included in the register.

The trees, which are on the Geelong Road/Princes Highway road reserve in Werribee, are believed to have been planted during the 1920s as part of the Calder Memorial Avenue, in memory of William Calder, the first chairman of the Country Roads Board.

Wyndham’s environment and sustainability portfolio holder, Cr Heather Marcus, said the development of the register meant significant trees would ultimately be covered by protection overlays.

“By creating and implementing Wyndham’s first Significant Tree Register, council has taken real action to protect some of the most important trees in our municipality,” Cr Marcus said.

For details and to view the Significant Tree Register visit www.wyndham.vic.gov.au