Tree protection

Why tree preservation is important

Council is committed to protecting and enhancing vegetation cover in Moreland as it enhances the local amenity, sense of place, and landscape of Moreland’s suburbs. It also enhances local climatic conditions by providing shade, wind protection and relief from the urban heat island effect. Vegetation also contributes to local biodiversity.

Large trees are being lost due to land development, infrastructure and property maintenance, changes in climate, natural attrition, pests and disease, and declining tree canopy on private land.

In order to preserve this important resource, a proactive approach to protecting and enhancing vegetation cover is required to reverse overall decline in tree canopy.

For this reason, Council has introduced:

Tree Works permit

If you want to prune or remove a mature or significant tree on private property in Moreland, you must first obtain a Tree Works permit from Council.

A Tree Works permit ensures that tree pruning and removal works are carried out in a way that supports and sustains a safe, healthy and diverse urban forest for mature trees in Moreland.

Trees which require a permit before removal or pruning

Tree Definition
Mature tree A tree on private property which is greater than 8 metres in height and has a trunk diameter greater than 40 centimetres (measured 1.2 metres from the ground).
Significant tree A tree that meets Council’s Significance criteria as described in the Urban Forest Strategy 2017-27 (PDF 9Mb).

Permit fee

A Tree Works permit application incurs a fee. These fees are reviewed yearly.

The cost of the application fee is $120 in 2018-19.

How to apply for a Tree Works permit

Apply to Council if you want to remove or prune a mature tree on private property in Moreland.

  1. Apply for a Tree Works permit online
  2. As part of the online application process, you upload digital files and pay the permit application fee by Visa or MasterCard. You can also elect to have an invoice sent.
  3. When Council receives your application, you receive an automated email confirmation that your application has been received.

You do not need to register as a user and sign in to Council Online Services to apply for a Tree Works permit. However, as a registered user, you don't need to re-enter your personal information and can keep track of requests and applications on any device.

Apply for a Tree Works permit

What is required

The reason you want to prune or remove a mature tree.

A professional report

An independent arborist report is required as part of the application, unless

  • the work is being performed by a suitably qualified arborist and less than 15 per cent of the canopy is being removed.
  • the tree is damaging plumbing or infrastructure. In this case a report by a qualified plumber or engineer is required which shows evidence that the tree is causing the damage.

The property owner is responsible for obtaining the independent arborist report.

An online search is the best way to find an arborist in your local area. Make sure that the arborist is adequately qualified with an Arboricultural qualification to complete an Arborist’s report (APF Qualification Level 5, Diploma or above).

Moreland Arboricultural Report Writing Guide (DOC 37Kb) provides further information for arborists about what needs to be included in the report.

Details of the trees to be removed

If you are proposing to prune or remove more than one tree, please attach a listing of the trees. Include the tree height, diameter, type and location within the property.

Tree replacement plan

If you are proposing to remove a tree, you must replace the tree on your property, however the new tree may be planted in a different location. You need to provide a plan or sketch of the location of the new trees.

What happens after you apply

Once your application is submitted, Moreland’s Urban Forestry Officer will review the application and make an assessment. 

The decisions considers the property owner’s needs, any risk or damage to people or property, and the impact of the tree removal on the environment and local amenity.

Other Council permits which may be required

A planning permit may also be required to prune or remove a tree if:

  • The property is subject to a recent planning permit with conditions that relate to trees
  • The property is located within one of the following planning overlay areas:
    • Heritage Overlays
    • Significant Landscape Overlays
    • Native vegetation (Clause 52.17 Planning Scheme)
    • Environmental Significance Overlays
    • Erosion Management Overlays
  • The tree or vegetation is on land owned or managed by Council.

If a tree on your property is protected through the provisions of a planning permit or an overlay in the Moreland Planning Scheme, Council permission is required before undertaking works on the tree. 

Council may give approval if:

  • the tree is dead, damaged or about to fall or cause some other immediate danger
  • there are problems with roots blocking sewerage or other pipes
  • the tree is threatening a building or structure
  • the tree is on a boundary and you or your neighbours want to erect a dividing fence, or
  • branches are threatening roof tiles.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure the conditions of a planning permit or overlay are met.

Council has the power to prosecute anyone for breaking a tree preservation order associated with an overlay or permit condition. This includes removing, cutting down, topping, lopping, ring barking or causing any damage to the tree directly or indirectly.

Further information

If you have a query about the process for pruning of mature trees or questions about a particular tree, email Council Tree Maintenance or phone Council on 9240 1111 and an Urban Forestry Officer will get in touch.

Key documents