Tree Lopping, Removal & Preservation

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.

Generally, under the Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015 no permit is required to lop or remove a tree unless it involves:

  • A place or precinct listed in the Historic Heritage Code;
  • An area that is subject to the Natural Assets Code;
  • The removal of any threatened vegetation; or
  • Land located within 30 metres of a wetland or watercourse.

Historic Heritage Code

The purpose of the Historic Heritage Code is to conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places, precincts and landscapes. A tree, garden or landscape may be an element that contributes to the heritage significance of the property.  In circumstances when vegetation specifically forms part of the heritage description a development application will be required. The properties that are identified in the Planning Scheme’s heritage register are listed in section 13.0 of the Scheme and shown on the Planning Scheme maps.

Natural Assets Code

The purpose of the Natural Assets Code 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 the Natural Assets Code there are further exemptions to the requirement to obtain a permit to remove a native tree, for example the removal of dead vegetation and bushfire management.  The exemptions are listed in section 6.3 of the Scheme – Vegetation planting, clearing or modification. A development application must be made if the exemptions do not apply.

Other requirements

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.

Exotics and non-natives

Exotic or trees that are not native to Australia are not protected under the Planning Scheme unless they have heritage value, that is the Historic Heritage Code applies to the property.

On a neighbour’s property

If you have a concern about a tree or plant growing on a neighbouring property that may be affecting your home or property, in the first instance contact your neighbour regarding your concern. If this does not achieve a satsifactory outcome then you can follow the process outlined in the Neighbourhood Disputes about Plants Act 2017 (the Act) to assist in resolving the dispute.

We will only become involved in the matter if there is significant evidence that the tree is a risk to people using public places, for example dead tree limbs overhanging a footpath or if the plant or tree is a declared weed under the Weed Management Act 1999. 

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 us on 03 6217 9500.  The tree will be assessed by either one of our qualified horticulturists or a professional arborist.

Our tree policy provides generally for:

  • The planning, planting and maintenance of trees on council land; and
  • The assessment criteria for removal and replacement of trees on council land.