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Some trees are protected by planning controls and some trees are protected by the Tree Protection Local Law 2016.

Planning controls:

You need a Planning Permit if:

Your property is covered by any of the following overlays through the Boroondara Planning Scheme. These overlays mostly affect properties in and around the Yarra River environs in Hawthorn, Balwyn and Kew.

  • Significant Landscape Overlay.
  • Environmental Significance Overlay.
  • Vegetation Protection Overlay.

Tree Protection Local Law 2016:

The Tree Protection Local Law 2016 applies to all private land throughout the City of Boroondara. You may require a permit to remove, prune or undertake works near a tree.

The Local Law replaces the previous Local Law and came into effect on 26 November 2016. The Local Law includes a series of improvements when compared to the previous Local Law.

The Local Law recognises the contribution that the municipality’s tree canopy makes to the quality of our suburban environment. Damage or removal of trees results in a degradation of this established character. Council also acknowledges that trees in the urban environment have environmental benefits such as reducing the impact of the urban heat island effect, reducing the effects of climate change, reducing temperatures in and around buildings, reducing stormwater runoff, absorbing pollution, providing habitat and promoting biodiversity.

The Local Law regulates activities which may impact upon ‘canopy trees’ and ‘significant trees’.

Most trees covered by the Local Law are canopy trees, defined as:

  • A tree with a circumference of 110 centimetres or more measured at 1.5 metres above ground level or with a circumference of 150 centimetres or more at ground level. If a tree is multi-stemmed, the circumference is obtained by adding up each stem.

You need a Local Law permit to:

  • Remove, damage, kill or destroy a canopy tree.
  • Carry out works within 2 metres of a canopy tree, measured from the outside of the trunk.

Works (including excavation and construction) occurring more than 2 metres away from a canopy tree may still constitute damage or destruction of the tree and may require a Local Law permit.

A significant tree is a tree listed in Council’s Significant Tree Study. The Local Law affords greater protection to significant. You need a Local Law permit to:

  • Remove, damage, kill or destroy a significant tree.
  • Prune a significant tree.
  • Carry out works within the Tree Protection Zone of a significant tree.

To apply for a Local Law permit, you need to complete the application form and pay the fee. You should read the fact sheet (available for download below) prior to making an application. It is important that you provide supporting information with your application.

Most Local Law permits require replacement planting to be undertaken as a condition of approval.

It is an offence to fail to comply with the Local Law or to fail to comply with a condition of a Local Law permit.