Removing, clearing, destroying, lopping or pruning trees or vegetation

Do I need a permit to remove vegetation on my land?

Yes. You will need permission to remove, destroy, lop or prune a tree in your garden or land. You need either a local law permit or planning permit.

You will require a planning permit to remove, destroy, lop or prune a tree if your land is affected by:

  • Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO)
  • Environmental Significant Overlay (ESO)
  • Heritage Overlay (HO) protecting a tree
  • The vegetation is native (remnant or remnant regrowth) and your land is over 4,000m2 in area. 
  • The vegetation is to be retained under a Section 173 or covenant on Title.
  • The tree was retained or planted as per a planning permit affecting the land.

You can check the overlays that apply to your property at VicPlan

If your land is not affected by one of the above requirements, you will need a tree protection local law permit.

Visit our planning permits or Local Laws for Trees page for more information.

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

You may not need a planning permit if you plan to clear vegetation around your property to reduce the risk of bushfire.

Visit the Planning Victoria website to find out if your property is in a bushfire prone area and if the Bushfire Management Overlay applies to you.

Does my application qualify for VicSmart?

The removal of a single tree in an Environmental Significance Overlay or Significant Landscape Overlay is eligible for VicSmart. A report prepared by an arborist must be submitted with an application for tree removal under the VicSmart provision.

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

For the removal of a tree, you can lodge an application without needing to engage a planning consultant or draftsperson. However, you must provide the requirements outlined in Council’s Checklist. This includes obtaining an Arborist’s Report outlining the health and condition of the proposed tree as well as a Site Plan showing the location and species of the tree.

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 and apply for the appropriate permit.

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 assess or remove my tree?

No. Whilst Council permission may be required to remove a tree, the removal itself is a civil matter and Council does not undertake these works.