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Berm planting gets reprieve for review

Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014

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Vege enthusiasts lobbying for berms to be used to grow produce have been granted a reprieve while rules are reviewed.

Auckland Transport, the council body in charge of berms, is reviewing its policy and guidelines for planting of vegetation on grass berms.

As it stands, planting is not permitted for safety reasons, such as food impairing sight and covering signage and concerns plants could cause damage underground services, such as sewerage, water and power, Auckland Transport says.

There is also the potential increase in cost for ongoing maintenance if planting is abandoned by the planter.

Chief operations officer Greg Edmonds says the organisation is aware of a number of residents and businesses who have planted on berms outside their property.

"We will not take any action in terms of removal while we are reviewing the policy unless those plantings pose a very real safety risk," he says.

"We will be taking a customer-focused and pragmatic approach to our review, in consultation with Auckland Council; however safety for road users, pedestrians and cyclists will be paramount as will be managing the cost of on-going road corridor maintenance."

North Shore protesters adopted "guerilla tactics" a year ago and planted on public land in a show of defiance of Auckland Transport bylaws.

Community Fruit Harvest Group's Di Celliers told the North Shore Times last January it would cost her $1000 in a non-refundable deposit for Auckland Transport to consider her application. She was also said that it would probably be declined.

The story spurned on Green Bay woman Alison Withers to "give the big middle finger" to bureaucracy by starting The Lemon Tree Revolution Facebook page.

Ms Withers planted a lemon tree, nicknamed Victory, outside her property on public land.

It is unknown how long the bylaw review will take.

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