Trees and Local Council
Our qualified arborists can give you advice about relevant laws in your area, and guide you through the council approval process.
Trees and the Law
These laws protect Victoria’s natural resource of mature and significant trees; including single trees, groups of trees, and larger areas of significant vegetation. Established native trees and vegetation are important habitats for local birds and animals. Trees also provide the state with aesthetic and functional resources. For these reasons, a number of state-level overlays are in place including the Environmental Significant Overlay, Significant Landscape Overlay, Heritage Overlays, Erosion Management Overlay and Salinity Management Overlay.
Councils are responsible for the execution of both the VPP and local VPOs, and for administering fines and prosecuting people who break the law.
Council Permits for Tree Removal and Tree Pruning
When evaluating an application, councils will take into account many factors including the type of tree, the condition and safety status of the tree, the aesthetic implications of the works and the reason for the request. Council will work through all the relevant state and local laws relevant to your request before they can grant approval.
An arborist report by a qualified arborist familiar with your local council laws is an important inclusion in your permit application. This report will include a thorough assessment of the health and condition of the tree including any structural issues, pests and diseases, and other important factors. This will give council all the information it needs to consider your application with all the relevant facts.
Find more about arborist reports here.
Preparing for Bushfire
There are important planning permit exemptions for many Victorian residents, to allow for the management of vegetation for bushfire protection. These exemptions allow for the removal of trees and other plants within a defined distance from homes and other structures such as boundary fences. Download this factsheet from the Department of Environmental and Primary Industries for important information about lawful bushfire protection strategies.
Council can issue penalties for any unlawful tree removal or tree pruning works conducted without a permit. These can include infringement notices and fines for each breach. Your local council can also seek a conviction and a more substantial fine in the magistrate’s court.