Trees in urban and semi-rural landscapes provide many benefits that include:
- improving air quality
- reducing storm water runoff
- harbouring wildlife
- reducing stress levels.
- combating climate change by reducing heat island effects.
Recognising the importance of trees, the Victorian Government has planning controls to preserve trees and vegetation on private and public land.
If there’s an overlay protection, it’s an offence to remove a tree without a permit or development consent.
What you should do before applying for a permit
The best way to find out is:
Overlays that affect tree removal
Below is an overview of each overlay and what we look for when assessing an application. You’ll also find information on what you should do before applying for a permit.
The Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO)
What’s an Environmental Significance Overlay?
Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) is a planning control and covers most of the eastern half of Manningham.
ESO areas are important and any development of land must be compatible with identified environmental values of the particular area.
Vegetation may be a significant part of the environment in some areas as a habitat or link for native fauna. It can also contribute to soil stability and water quality as well.
What we look for when assessing a permit
An ESO has many challenges and we look for a number things when assessing a permit that includes:
- The impact of any proposed buildings, works and any associated vegetation loss on the natural environment.
- Significance of the flora, fauna and the landscape values of the area.
- The possible impact of vegetation loss on landscape values.
- Fire management requirements.
- The impact on animal movement and survival.
Where a development or vegetation removal doesn’t meet the objectives of the ESO, modifications to preserve existing vegetation is generally required.
The Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) and Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO)
What is the SLO and VPO?
The Manningham planning scheme has 7 schedules to the SLO and 3 schedules to the VPO. This could mean that the planning controls for a property covered by the SLO or VPO differs from another property affected by the SLO or VPO.
It’s a good idea to talk to us before commencing any construction works or vegetation removal due to the complexity of these planning controls. You should confirm the permit requirements with us.
What we look for when assessing a permit application in an SLO and VPO area
When assessing a permit application, we look for some of the following:
- The impact of the proposed buildings, works and any associated vegetation loss on the natural environment.
- The built form and the existing preferred neighbourhood character of the area.
- The possible impact of building height, location, bulk and general appearance on the character of the area.
- The impact of vegetation loss on the landscape character or significance of the area.
Where a development or vegetation removal doesn’t meet the objectives of the SLO or VPO, modifications to preserve existing vegetation is generally required.
The General Residential Zones (GRZ)
In most GRZ where land is less than 4000m2, you will not need a permit to remove a tree within the property.
Clause 54 or 55 of the Manningham planning scheme applies to any proposed development within a GRZ area. The landscape objectives of both clauses is retaining significant canopy trees as part of any site development.
If you have removed a significant canopy tree 12 months before making an application, we will generally require you to replace the tree. Also there will be minimum tree planting requirements of the schedules to the zone.
It’s a good idea to get advice from a qualified arborist before removing a tree before any future development of the site.
The Heritage Overlay
A heritage overlay protects and enhances places of natural or cultural significance, including historical gardens or trees. You will generally need a permit to remove vegetation under this overlay.
It’s a good idea to talk to us to about the permit requirements and this planning control.
A Section 173 Agreement
Section 173 agreements are from the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and covers some local properties protecting trees from removal.
This planning control is complex and you should talk to us about the permit requirements before removing any trees.
Are there any exemptions from the tree removal requirements?
If a tree is dangerous and poses an immediate risk of personal injury or to property, an exemption applies. The exemption only applies to the part of the vegetation posing an immediate risk
You should get an arborist to inspect the tree for their advice on its condition. Advice relating to future management should be in writing. You can forward this info to us for confirmation.
Tree removal and bushfires
Areas where there’s a significant risk of bushfire that’s likely to pose a threat to life and to property, such as an area affected by bushfire management overlay (BMO), you can under some circumstances remove vegetation.
How to apply
Apply for removal, destruction or lopping of 1 tree.
Apply for removal, destruction or lopping of 1 Victorian native tree on a property greater than 4000m2.
Apply for removal, destruction or lopping of 2 or more trees.
What you should do before removing a tree
Talk to a qualified arborist (minimum Australian qualification framework level 5) before removing trees. They’ll be able to provide advice and an aboricultural report.
Along with an arboricultural report, we may also require the following info with your application:
- a site plan
- an explanation of the steps you’ve taken to avoid or minimise the removal of native vegetation
- a landscape plan including any proposed replanting.
You can help by planting a tree
Contribute to the improvement of our urban forest and ecological values of the area by planting a tree on your property. native trees are best suited to the local environment.
Most permits will include a condition to replant an appropriate number of replacement trees if there’s been an approval to remove protected trees. We base our calculations of replacement trees on the replacement planting table from the Port Phillip and Westernport native vegetation plan.
- Eucalyptus melliodora (Yellow Box)
- Eucalyptus goniocalyx (Long Leaved Box)
- Eucalyptus polyanthemos (Red Box)
- Eucalyptus macrorhyncha (Red Stringybark
- Eucalyptus ovata (Swamp Gum)
- Eucalyptus obliqua (Messmate Stringybark)
- Eucalyptus viminalis (Manna Gum)
- Eucalyptus rubida (Candlebark)
- Eucalyptus radiata Narrow-leaf Peppermint)
- Eucalyptus dives (Broad-leaf Peppermint)
- Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum)