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Do I need a permit to remove a tree or vegetation on my property?

There are 3 situations where you will need a permit to remove or prune a tree and/or vegetation on your property.

1. Your property has an existing planning permit, heritage overlay or significant landscape overlay

Trees or vegetation may be protected by a planning permit if you live in, or own, a flat, unit, apartment, dual occupancy, or if the property is under 500m2.

To find out whether your property is protected by a heritage overlay or a significant landscape overlay, use the planning maps online website.

To check whether there is a planning permit on your property, or more information on the planning application process contact our planning department on (03) 9599 4666.

2. The vegetation is native and in the VPO3 area

There is an area which is protected by the Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO3) shown in the map below. This region has been identified as an area of environmental significance.

A planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop any native tree or plant (including ferns and palms) which is:

  1. greater than 2m high, and
  2. has a single trunk circumference greater than 0.5m at a height of 1m above ground level.

Pruning a native tree or native plant protected by the VPO is allowed without a permit in the VPO3 area. Works must be in accordance with AS4970 Pruning of Amenity Trees to be considered pruning.

Special instances when you do not need a planning permit

No permit is required to remove, destroy or lop vegetation to the minimum extent necessary if the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property. Only the part of vegetation which presents the immediate risk can be removed, destroyed or lopped.

How do I find out if the vegetation is a native?

You can talk to your arborist or tree cutter about the species type. Alternatively if you have received a quote for the work, the species type might be on the quote.

You can also take a clipping to your local nursery.

View map showing VPO3 overlay

My tree or plant is protected by the VPO3, how do I apply?

One tree or plant

You can submit a VicSmart application.

Multiple trees or plants

You can submit a planning permit application form.

3. For other trees on private property

You may need to apply for a Local Law permit if the tree doesn't fall into the above situations and:

  • Has a single or combined trunk circumference greater than 155cm measured at 1m above ground level. If the tree has several trunks, the 4 largest trunks circumferences should be added together; or
  • Is planted in accordance with the replacement planting condition of a Local Law permit; or
  • Is listed on our significant tree register.

Measure 1 metre up trunk, if trunk or combined trunks is greater than 155cm then permit required.

Image above showing to measure 1m above ground level, if single or combined trunks are greater than 155cm.

Palms, ferns and non-woody plants

Please note that palms, ferns and non-woody plants do not meet the definition of 'tree' in Council's Local Law and do not need a Local Law permit to remove.

Significant tree register

You can view all the trees, by suburb, on our significant trees register page.

How to find out if a tree is planted in accordance with a planting condition

To find out whether a tree is planted in accordance with a replacement planting condition of a Local Law permit please call (03) 9599 4444.

Special instances when you do not need a Local Law permit

A permit is not required to prune a tree protected by the Local Law in special circumstances, these are:

  • The removal or pruning of that part of the tree that poses an immediate risk to persons or property. Only that part of the tree that poses the immediate risk may be removed under this exemption.
  • When the work is to be carried out by an arborist trained to AQF Level 3 in Arboriculture, or above, or equivalent recognised and relevant experience. The work needs to conform to the Australian Standard No. 4373, 2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. The contractor must certify their work, including photographs of before and after work.
  • Trees declared as noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land Protections Act 1994.

Apply for a Local Law permit

    Apply for a permit in person or by mail

    If you would like to apply for a permit in person or by mail, please call us on (03) 9599 4444 to request a hard copy form.

    Applications can be made in person at our Corporate Centre, 76 Royal Ave, Sandringham VIC 3191. Mail applications will require a cheque to be enclosed in the envelope. Please note that hard copy applications will take longer to process.