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