With the introduction of the new Planning Scheme on 2 April 2008 there are significant changes to the way in which tree removal requests from property owners are handled.
Under the previous planning schemes any request to remove an established tree required the property owner to make an application to Council for a permit.
In general, under the current planning scheme no permit is required to remove a tree unless the property is covered by a Vegetation Management Overlay (VMO) or it is in a Heritage Overlay (HO). For some properties there may be some additional conditions that apply - see Other requirements below.
Vegetation Management Overlay (VMO)
The purpose of the VMO is to protect areas of significant native vegetation and bushland habitat that contribute to important vistas or maintain habitat and corridors for indigenous fauna.
Even if the property is covered by a VMO there are further exemptions to the requirement for a permit to remove a native tree, for example the removal of dead vegetation. The 18 exemptions are listed in section 7.1.2 of the Planning Scheme. A Development Application must be made if the exemptions do not apply.
Heritage Overlay (HO)
The purpose of the HO is to conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places.
In this context a tree, garden or landscape may be an element that contributes to the heritage significance of the property. A Development Application will be required if this applies.
The properties that are identified in the Planning Scheme's heritage register are listed in section 7.5.6 of the Scheme.
In some situations it may not be possible to remove a tree even if it is allowed for in the general provisions of the Planning Scheme. This would apply to properties that have:
- permit conditions that prevent or restricts the removal of trees;
- a covenant that prevents or restricts the removal of trees; or
- a Part V Agreement condition that prevents or restricts the removal of trees.
Also it may be necessary to check if the property or part of it is subject to other government legislation or policy provisions; for example Regional Forest Agreement or Threatened Species Protection Act.
Exotic or trees that are not native to Australia are not protected under the Planning Scheme unless they have heritage value, that is the HO applies to the property.
Generally, most people that live in a residential area will not need to apply to Council for a permit to remove a tree or to lop tree limbs from their property.
The procedure for dealing with customer requests in respect of trees on a neighbour's property or Council land remains unchanged - see below for details.
For all enquiries or requests to remove a tree on your property please contact a planning officer.
On Neighbours Property
If you propose that a tree that is on neighbouring property be removed, then as this tree is the responsibility of your neighbour the first step is to contact them regarding your issue. If they are agreeable they must follow the same steps as above.
If your neighbour does not want the tree removed or lopped, Council will only become involved in the matter if there is significant evidence that the tree is a risk to people.
A written report from a qualified arborist in support of your proposal to have the tree removed or lopped is required. If the report recommends the tree be removed because it is a risk, and the Council agrees with that assessment, Council will request the property owner to undertake the necessary work to remove the danger.
Management of Trees On Council Land
If you consider a tree on Council land to be either dangerous, unhealthy or simply in need of some maintenance then please contact Council. The tree will be assessed by either one of Council's qualified horticulturists or a professional Arborist.
Council's Tree Policy provides generally for:
- the planning, planting and maintenance of trees on Council land;
- the assessment criteria for removal and replacement of trees on Council land; and
Download the policy for Management of Trees on Council Land.
For further information please contact Clarence City Council.