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:
- 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 is on a property that's 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:
- check the Boroondara Planning Scheme
- visit Planning Maps Online to search for your address and get a Planning Property Report
- call our Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888.
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
You'll also need to check whether the tree is protected. Continue to Step 3 to do this.
Step 3: Check whether a permit is required under our Tree Protection Local Law
Two categories of trees are protected - significant and canopy. If your tree is in one of these categories, you'll need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit to remove, prune or do any works near it. You do not need this permit if you identified in Step 1 that you need a Planning Permit.
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
If your tree is protected (that is, in one of categories above), you'll need to apply for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit. Applications generally take 10 days to process.
Download and submit the Application for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit form to Council offices.
A fee applies for a Tree Protection Local Law Permit:
- tree removal or work near a tree: $80 per tree
- pruning: $40. This is for 'significant' trees only, which are given additional protection. See Find out if a tree is protected if you are not sure whether the tree is significant
With your application, you'll need to provide:
If you don't own the tree:
- evidence from the owner that they consent to the application (for example, an email).
If you want to prune a tree:
- a plan showing the location of the tree.
If you want to 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).
If you want to do works near 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.
Permits are valid for 12 months and can be issued for longer if needed.
Step 5: Assessment visit
To assess your application, a qualified arborist will visit your property within 10 days and inspect your tree. If you want to meet the arborist, you need to indicate this on the form and we'll contact you to arrange a suitable time.
As part of the assessment, the arborist considers all supporting documentation that you provided. After the inspection, we may ask for more information.
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 successful, we'll email or post your permit. Permits are valid for 12 months but can be issued for longer if needed
If your application is refused
If your application is refused, you can apply for an internal review within 60 days.
Provide details on why you're asking for a review and any new or supporting evidence that you didn't include in your first application.
You can submit the information by:
- email Council
- post to Private Bag 1, Camberwell VIC 3146.
Step 6: Follow permit conditions
Works must be completed within the timeframe specified on the permit.
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.
To extend a permit, email Council or call Statutory Planning on 9278 4888. There's no fee to apply for an extension.
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.