Auckland Transport is responsible for grass verges or berms, so that both traffic and pedestrians can move safely.
For all enquiries relating to berm mowing contact Auckland Council on 09 3010101.
Residents are not permitted to plant on berms.
On rare occasions permission may be given but this requires an application to Auckland Transport for a licence specific to their circumstances - read Auckland Transport's Encroachment Policy.
Private planting in the road corridor can impact:
Private planting can adversely affect visibility of pedestrians, street signs and reduce sight lines at intersections and driveways. It can also encroach into footpaths and impede pedestrians particularly those who are visually impaired or wheel chair users.
Private planting can result in damage to utility services particularly lateral connections which are at a shallower depth. The presence of private planting also creates challenges for utility operators when maintaining existing infrastructure or installing new infrastructure. Root intrusion can also be an issue particularly from fruit trees.
Private plantings have the potential to cause discontent between adjoining landowners who have differing views as to what is appropriate and the look and feel of neighbourhoods can be compromised by plantings that do not fit their environment. Most private planting is brought to our attention by complaints being made by adjoining landowners.
Private planting on road reserve can blur the boundary between private property and public space and create an inappropriate expectation of ownership or control in respect to this public space by the landowner. An adjoining landowner has no more right of use of the road corridor outside their property than any other party. They also have no right of ownership of any flowers or produce grown in the road corridor.
Private plantings require on-going maintenance by landowners. If landowners lose interest or properties change hands then there is the risk that plantings will not be maintained and will have to be removed and the area re-sowed in grass at Auckland Transport’s expense.
Fruit trees can result in squashed and decaying fruit being deposited on the berm and/or footpath. If left, it can pose a nuisance to pedestrians and/or a health risk as it can attract vermin. Ground cover materials such as bark, pebbles or stones can be displaced onto footpaths and pose a nuisance to pedestrians.
Proposed planting guidelines
Auckland Transport has received feedback from various local boards on the issue of planting berms and we are now considering that feedback. It is proposed that private planting that complies with the following planting guidelines be a permitted activity:
- Planting to be undertaken by the adjoining landowner on the berm immediately adjacent to their property.
- Planting is permitted in the back berm adjacent to the property boundary. The plants shall be no more than 600 mm in height at maturity and encroach no more than 600 mm into the road corridor.
- Low level planting (<300 mm in height) may be undertaken between adjacent vehicle crossings or around mail boxes and street trees providing it does not encroach onto the footpath and does not exceed a total area of 2m.
- Any excavations undertaken in the berm shall be not more than 200 mm deep and care shall be taken to avoid damage to any existing utility structures.
- Plants shall have a shallow root mass so as to not interfere with utility structures.
- Ground cover shall not include loose materials such as bark, rocks or stones which can be displaced onto the footpath or carriageway.
- The planting of fruit trees and vegetables is not permitted. Neither is the planting of any noxious or invasive species or any plant which has hard, sharp or pointed leaves or thorns.
- Any planting shall not be edible or grown for sale.
- Any planting stakes used shall be less than 600 mm in height and not sharp or protruding so as to pose a hazard to road users.
- The proposed planting must be in keeping with the existing streetscape and amenity values in the area.
- The adjoining landowner shall ensure the planted area is maintained weed free and in a neat and tidy state.
- No agrichemicals such as herbicides or pesticides shall be used.
- The area must be replanted in grass on request by Auckland Transport or when the property is sold.
Any proposed planting that does not fully comply with these Planting Guidelines will require lodgement of an application to Auckland Transport and the issuing of a licence.
If you wish to file a complaint please contact your local board who will be able to raise the matter with Auckland Council on your behalf.