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Tree removals on private property: Permit guide

Trees play a vital role in our community and removal should be avoided wherever possible.

In many instances, pruning or maintenance will be a better solution and a permit is not required on most occasions. Find out more about tree pruning and maintenance.

Find out about:

When you will require a Local Law permit

If the tree/vegetation is not within the VPO area and native or subject to an existing planning permit with tree or vegetation conditions, you may need to apply for a Local Law permit.

A Local Law permit will be required if the tree:

  • 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.
Tree measurement images

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.

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 4666.

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 of the 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 AQF Level 4 for root pruning. 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 4666 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.

If the vegetation is within the VPO area and native to Australia

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

VPO overlay map

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 VPO area. Works must be in accordance with AS4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees to be considered pruning.

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, including Bayside Nursery.

My tree or plant is protected by VPO, 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.

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.

If your property has an existing planning permit with tree or vegetation conditions

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 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.