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Trees and Vegetation

At the July 2022 Council Meeting, Council resolved to adopt Local Law No.1 Neighbourhood Amenity 2022. The Local Law introduces new clauses including the requirement for a separate Local Law Permit to remove Significant or Protected Trees. Please refer to the following page for more information including information on how to apply.

Do I need a planning or local law permit to remove vegetation on my land?

Planning Permit

You will need permission to remove or prune a tree in your garden or land if:

  • It is covered by a Vegetation Protection Overlay, Significant Landscape Overlay, Erosion Management Overlay and Environmental Significance Overlay (and the vegetation type is not listed as exempt within this overlay);
  • the vegetation is native (remnant or remnant regrowth) AND your land is over 4,000m2 in area.

Local Law Permit

Please note, if there is a specific planning permit trigger for vegetation removal (for example, if your site is affected by a Vegetation Protection Overlay), you do not need to apply for two separate permits - as part of the planning permit application your planner will refer the proposal to Council's Arborist to determine if the vegetation can be removed. However, if there is no specific planning permit trigger than a separate Local Law Permit will be required. Refer to our Local Law page for more information on how to apply for a Local Law Permit.

Do I need to a planning permit to clear vegetation to manage the risk of bushfire?

Specific exemptions apply in the planning schemes allowing you to clear vegetation around your property to create or maintain defendable space for bushfire protection without the need for a planning permit subject to certain requirements. These exemptions are located at Clause 52.12 (Bushfire Protection Exemptions).

If you would like to check if your property is within the Bushfire Prone Area of Bushfire Management Overlay, please visit the VicPlan website where you can input your address and check if the mapping applies to you.

You can find the exemptions at Clause 52.12 Bushfire Exemptions and on the Department of Environment, and, Water and Planning (DELWP) website here.

It is important to satisfy yourself that the exemptions apply to you before you undertake any clearing of vegetation.

Does my application qualify for VicSmart?

The removal of a single tree in a Vegetation Protection Overlay, Environmental Significance Overlay or Significant Landscape Overlay is eligible for VicSmart.

Do I need to engage a consultant to put together an application?

For the removal of a single tree, you could lodge an application without needing to engage a planning consultant or draftsperson.

However, you must provide the requirements outlined in Council’s Checklist, below, this includes obtaining an Arborist’s Report outlining the health and condition of the proposed tree as well as a Site Plan showing the species of the tree.

  1. Checklist for any vegetation removal in a Vegetation Protection Overlay, Significant Landscape Overlay, Erosion Management Overlay and Environmental Significance Overlay.
  2. Checklist for any native (remnant or remnant regrowth) vegetation removal AND your land is over 4,000m2 in area.
Can I remove a tree on my land for safety reasons?

If the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property, it may be removed without a permit. Only the part of the vegetation that presents the immediate risk may be removed.

For example, a limb of a gum tree has half broken and is hanging and requires removal. Only this limb poses an immediate risk and may be removed. After this point, you may choose to have the entire tree assessed by an arborist for health and condition to determine whether it is necessary to remove the whole tree.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can demonstrate with appropriate evidence that the vegetation presented an immediate risk.

If you are unsure whether a particular tree poses an immediate risk you should contact a suitably qualified arborist to assess the tree for you.

Can Council come assess and or remove my tree?


Whilst planning permission may be required to removal a tree, the removal itself is a civil matter and Council does not undertake these works.

In the same manner, if you required a building permit for demolition, Council does not demolish your building for you.

Can't find what you're looking for and would like advice?

For more information or to discuss your planning application, contact our Statutory Planning team by:

  • Requesting a call back to speak to a planner
  • Calling our Statutory Planning Department on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211
  • Visiting the Wonthaggi Customer Service Centre (76 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi) between 10am and 3pm every Wednesday to speak to a planner (please note that a planner may not be available between 12pm-12:45pm).
  • Requesting a Pre-Application discussion (may include a telephone conversation, a face-to-face/virtual meeting or e-mail correspondence) before your formal planning permit application is lodged with Council. To ensure the meeting is beneficial, please ensure conceptual plans and photographs are provided along with a detailed outline of your proposal.