THERE has been increase in the number of residents who are removing trees from their verges, without realising the procedures that need to be followed before doing so. Ward 8 councillor Gustav Rautenbach is concerned about the spike in incidences in his ward, where residents seem to disregard the fact that permission from the Nelson Mandela Municipality is needed to remove a tree.“Any tree or shrub planted in a public place, including verges, is the property of the municipality,” said Rautenbach.“No resident is allowed to remove a tree on his verge, which is municipal property. A tree will only be removed if it is endangering lives, damaging property, or sick, and only after an inspection by the Parks Department.”He added, “To me trees are a form of life. Trees are very important, not only for the oxygen they provide, but for beautification. Before the drought we had over 1 300 trees planted in the ward in 2008.” Rautenbach encourages the planting of trees and added that should residents want trees planted on their verges they may contact the ward office. He also encouraged residents to follow the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s example of using grey water for watering their plants. THE municipal bylaws with regard to trees state the following:1) No person may (a) plant a tree or shrub in a public road or public place, cut down a tree or a shrub in a public road or public place, or remove it there from, except with the written permission of the municipality; (b) climb, break or damage a tree growing in a public road or public place; or (c) in any way mark or paint any tree growing in a public road or public place, subject to the municipality’s regulations pertaining to the display of advertising signs, attach any advertisements thereto.2)Any tree or shrub planted in a public road or public place is the property of the municipality.3)Whenever there is upon any property any tree or other growth which interferes with overhead wires or is a source of annoyance, damage, danger or inconvenience to the persons using a public road or public place, the municipality may by notice in writing order the owner or occupier of such property to prune or remove such a tree or growth to the extent and within the period specified in such a notice.4) A person who contravenes, or who fails to comply with a notice issued in terms of subsection (1), or who fails to comply with a notice issued in terms of subsection (3) commits an offence.5) If any person fails to comply with a notice in terms of subsection (3), the municipality may itself prune or remove the tree or growth at the expense of the person on whom the notice was served.