Trees on private property and public land can be protected by planning overlays or local laws. 

Check if you need a Planning Permit or a Tree Protection Local Law Permit to remove, prune or do works near a tree.

When you need a Planning Permit

Check if you need a Planning Permit to remove, prune or do works near a tree in a:

  • Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) 
  • Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) 
  • Heritage Overlay (HO).

These overlays mean the property has protected features. 

To find out if you have one of these overlays on your property visit the VicPlan website

The Boroondara Planning Scheme will tell you if you need a Planning Permit.

If you're on a property that’s over 4,000 m email [email protected] or call (03) 9278 4888 to find out if you need a permit.

Apply for a Planning Permit

Find out how to apply for a Planning Permit.

You may need a tree management plan as part of your Planning Permit. To find out if you need a plan check the conditions in your permit.

We have guidelines that help permit applicants, planning consultants and arborists (tree specialists) prepare tree management plans.

When you need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

There are trees in Boroondara that are protected under our local laws. These are:

  • canopy trees
  • trees that we have identified as 'significant'.

To find out if you have a canopy or significant tree on your property visit our Protected and significant trees page

Pruning or removing a protected tree

You need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit to:

  • remove or prune a significant tree
  • remove a canopy tree.

Canopy trees can be pruned without a permit but must be pruned to Australian Standard 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. We recommend you hire a qualified arborist to prune a canopy tree.

Conducting works near a protected tree

You need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit for works:

  • within 2 m of a canopy tree
  • within the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) of a significant tree. 

The TPZ is an area around the tree that needs to be protected to make sure the tree remains healthy. To find out the TPZ check the tree's details on our significant trees map.

Works include:

  • building
  • trenching or digging
  • compaction
  • excavation
  • filling or storing materials and equipment.

Apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

You can apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit online.

Apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

Documents to include in your application

Removing a canopy or significant tree

Include with your application:

  • a site plan or aerial image showing the location of the tree
  • photos of the tree and any issues it's causing, such as property damage
  • reports from experts who have assessed any issues, such as a report from a structural engineer about damage to building foundations.

If you’re proposing any new buildings or an extension, include building plans.

Pruning a significant tree

Include with your application:

  • a site plan or aerial image showing the location of the tree
  • a quote of pruning works from a qualified arborist, or photos showing the part of the tree you want to prune.

Conducting works near a protected tree

Include with your application:

  • a site plan or aerial image showing the location of the tree
  • plans of the proposed works
  • details of why the works are needed
  • building plans if you’re proposing any new buildings or an extension. 

Permit fees

Planned works Fee per tree
Prune a significant tree $42.50 
Remove a canopy or significant tree $85 
Works within 2 m of a canopy tree  $85 
Works within the TPZ of a significant tree $85

What happens next

A qualified arborist will visit your property to inspect the tree. We'll contact you to organise an inspection time.

Expect it to take 10 business days for us to assess your application. 

We'll get back to you with either:

  • your permit
  • a request for more information
  • a refusal letter explaining why we can't issue you a permit.

Assessing your application

When we assess your application we consider:

  • the tree's aesthetic, cultural, historic or ecological value
  • whether the tree is listed on our significant tree register
  • the tree's condition, for example its health and structure
  • the location of the tree in relation to buildings, and conditions on the property
  • issues such as property damage, nuisance and risk
  • remedy and repair options for things such as the tree's condition or property damage, so the tree would not need to be removed 
  • if the tree is recognised as a weed in Boroondara
  • if the tree is in a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO), Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) or Heritage Overlay (HO)
  • if the tree may be impacted by proposed developments
  • if the tree is affected by other legislative requirements.

Find out more about the significant tree register on our Protected and significant trees page.

Permit conditions

Permits are valid for 12 months. 

You must:

  • complete works within the timeframe on your permit
  • follow any special conditions on your permit, such as replacing trees that have been removed.

We do inspections to make sure that you’re following permit conditions.

Extend a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

If you can't complete works within the timeframe on your permit, you must apply to extend your Tree Protection Local Law Permit. 

Email [email protected] or call (03) 9278 4888 to apply for an extension. 

There is no fee to extend a permit.

Appeal a Tree Protection Local Law decision

If we don't approve your application, you can appeal the decision within 60 days. 

Appeal Tree Protection Local Law decision online

Include with your application:

  • your reasons for appealing
  • new or supporting documents that you didn’t include in your first permit application (for example a report from a structural engineer or licensed plumber, or building plans for a proposed new development).

Expect it to take at least 2 to 3 months for us to assess your appeal. 

Penalties for illegal tree works

If our local law is breached we can:

  • give a formal warning
  • issue a fine of $2,000 per offence
  • require replacement planting or tree protection measures (in a 'Notice to Comply')
  • take the offence to the Magistrates Court for prosecution and criminal conviction. 

The maximum fine for illegally removing a protected tree on private property is $2,000. 

More information 

For more information about permits and trees on private property: 

For information about Council trees, for example a tree on a nature strip or in a park, call Environmental Sustainability and Environment on (03) 9278 4444

Find out how to protect trees during construction

For information about trees on neighbouring properties, visit our Tree issues, pruning and maintenance page


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