Canberrans are being forced to wait as long as six months for tree felling services, following a surge in removal notices issued by electricity providers.
ACT arborists have said the sector has been the busiest it has been in decades, with tree fellers struggling to clear the back log of jobs.
While the dramatic increase has in part been driven by Covid and people spending more time at home, tree felling companies have said the leading factor has been the dramatic rise in tree removal notices issued by Evoenergy for home owners to get rid of trees or branches encroaching on power lines.
Notices issued by Evoenergy urged residents to remove the infringing trees within a 30-day period, warning of potential fines if they fail to do so.
However, tree felling companies that are accredited to remove trees next to the ACT's electricity network have said waiting lists to complete jobs are six months at least.
Senior arborist from ACT Tree Felling Kieran Wallace said the wait times for services was only set to grow further.
"The business has never been this busy in the 40 years we have been operating," Mr Wallace said.
"To be able to do all of that work in the 30-day period is just not feasible.
"There is no sign of things letting up."
Mr Wallace said while previous years had seen only a few suburbs targeted with notices to clear trees away from power lines, recent months had seen larger parts of Canberra having inspections at similar times.
An Evoenergy spokesman said the increase was due to a large growth in vegetation across Canberra after long periods of heavy rain.
"In the last 12 months, there has been more than 140 unplanned outages caused by trees and vegetation that hasn't been managed by landholders and we need to ensure all trees and vegetation are kept clear of poles and power lines so the network is safe and reliable," the spokesman said.
"In the ACT, landholders are responsible for ensuring all trees and vegetation on their property are kept clear from poles, power lines and all other network infrastructure.
"To ensure our program remains on track, we've increased the number of inspections we've conducted in the past 12 months."
Work has been completed recently on notifying residents in Canberra's north, and Evoenergy said it had started sending notices to those in the Belconnen area.
The energy distributor urged those who had received notices but were unable to book an arborist in the 30-day period to contact it to request an extension.
"If landholders do not clear trees or vegetation within 30 days, or do not notify Evoenergy or request an extension, we will reinspect the property, clear the trees and vegetation and invoice the landholder as required under legislation," the Evoenergy spokesman said.
Notices sent out by Evoenergy to residents include a list of 15 arborists that are accredited to work around the overhead electricity network.
Mr Wallace said due to the large wait times in the sector, there was the fear some residents could try to take tree felling matters into their own hands, which he strongly advised against.
"It would be a significant risk to safety," he said.
"If anyone indicated to me that they would do something like that, we would tell them how dangerous it is to be working with trees around power lines."
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