Coronavirus update 13 March 2020

COVID-19 restrictions: what's closed and what's open.

Whether you can remove, prune or do works around a tree depends on where it is and whether it's protected.

  • For a tree on Council land, such as a naturestrip, park or garden, contact us online:

 Report a tree issue online

  • For a tree on your neighbour's property: speak to your neighbour or see neighbouring trees.
  • For a tree on your property: follow the steps below to see if you need a permit.

Step 1: Check whether you need a Planning Permit

You may need a Planning Permit if the tree on your property is in a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) or a Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO).

There are 3 ways you can find out if it's in an SLO or VPO:

If the property is in an SLO or VPO, continue to Step 2.

If it isn't in an SLO or VPO, go straight to Step 3.

Step 2: Apply for a Planning Permit

If your tree is in an SLO or VPO, you need to Apply for a Planning Permit.

If your tree is protected, you will also need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit. To find out whether it's protected, continue to Step 3.

Step 3: Check whether you need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

If your tree is protected, you'll need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit to remove, prune or do any works near it.

 Find out if the tree is protected

There are 2 categories of protected trees:

  • significant trees
  • canopy trees

If your tree is protected, continue to Step 4.

If it isn't protected, you don't need to apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit. Continue to Step 7.

Step 4: Apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit

Download the Tree Protection Local Law Permit application form and submit it to Council offices

Applications generally take 10 days to process. Fees apply.

What to include in your application

Planned works affecting a protected tree What to provide Fees

Prune a significant tree

  • a plan showing the location of the tree.
$42 per tree
Remove a tree
  • a plan showing the location of the tree
  • photo evidence of the tree causing property damage (if applicable)
  • closed circuit television footage of a blocked drain (if applicable)
  • a report from a structural engineer who has completed an assessment of the damage to building foundations (if applicable)
  • building plans if you're proposing a new dwelling (if applicable).
$84 per tree
Carry out works within 2m of a tree
  • a plan showing the location of the tree and nearby excavation
  • evidence of a tree causing property damage
  • building plans if you're proposing a new dwelling
  • plans of proposed works near the tree.
$84 per tree

If you don't own the tree, you need to include evidence that the owner consents to the application (for example, an email or the owner's signature on the application form).

Permits are valid for 12 months and can be issued for longer if needed.

Step 5: Assessment visit

A qualified arborist will visit your property to inspect your tree within 10 days of submitting your application. Please include any details of any access restrictions on the form, such as dogs or locked gates. As part of social distancing and to protect our community our arborists are available to discuss your application over the phone or by email. As part of the assessment, the arborist considers all supporting documentation that you provided. After the inspection, we may ask for more information.

If your application is successful, we'll email or post your permit. Permits are valid for 12 months but can be issued for longer if needed

In assessing your application, we consider whether the tree:

  • has aesthetic, cultural, historic or ecological value
  • is a significant tree
  • is in good condition (for example, the health and structural integrity)
  • is in a suitable location in relation to existing buildings and conditions on the property
  • is causing property damage
  • is causing a nuisance to public land or private property owners
  • is recognised as a weed
  • falls within special planning overlays
  • is affected by legislative requirements.

If your application is refused

If your application is refused, you can apply for an internal review within 60 days.

You need to provide:

  • details on why you're asking for a review
  • new or supporting evidence that you didn't include in your first application.

To submit your review, email Council or post it to: Statutory Planning Department, City of Boroondara, Private Bag 1, Camberwell VIC 3124.

Step 6: Follow permit conditions

Works must be completed within the timeframe specified on the permit. 

To extend a permit, email Council or call Statutory Planning on 9278 4888. There's no fee to apply for an extension.

You may also need to comply with special conditions, such as:

  • replacing trees that have been removed
  • doing remediation works to existing trees
  • protecting trees close to building works.

Step 7: Breaches to permits

Council does follow-up inspections to make sure permit conditions are being met.

If a condition is breached, we may:

  • issue a fine
  • send a ‘Notice to Comply’
  • pursue legal prosecution.

More information

For enquiries about trees on private property, phone Statutory Planning at 9278 4888.

For enquiries about Council-managed trees (for example a tree on a nature-strip or in a park), phone Parks and Gardens at 9278 4745.

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