When you need a Tree Works Permit
If you are planning to prune or remove a tree on your property you may need to get a Tree Works Permit first.
Significant trees are protected under our General Local Law and in some areas of the city all trees are protected by the Stonnington Planning Scheme.
Local law protection
We have a General Local Law that protects significant trees on private land.
Under the Local Law you must obtain a Tree Works Permit before any works (pruning or removal) are undertaken on a tree deemed 'significant'.
A 'significant' tree has:
- trunk circumference of 140cm or more measured at 1.4m above its base
- total circumference of all its trunks of 140cm or more measured at 1.4m above its base
- trunk circumference of 180cm or more measured at its base; or
- total circumference of all its trunks of 180cm or more measured at its base.
To fully determine if a tree is 'significant' refer to pages 57 and 58 of the General Local Law: Part 14 - Tree protection
Planning Scheme protection
The Stonnington Planning Scheme applies tree controls over two specific areas within the city. If you live in one of these areas you must obtain planning approval before pruning or removing any tree, regardless of whether the tree matches criteria that would deem it 'significant' or not.
- Yarra (Birrarung) River Corridor Environs, and
- Hedgeley Dene Precinct
The areas subject to tree controls are highlighted on the maps:
For planning permit requirements please email the Planning Services team or call the City on 03 8290 1333.
Applying for a Tree Works Permit
A Tree Works Permit is needed for any tree deemed 'significant' that needs pruning or removal. Details of more than one tree can be included in a Tree Works Permit application.
Please note: an application to remove a tree can only be made by the property owner.
To help us assess and approve your request, please have the following documents ready:
- a map showing where the tree is located on the property (e.g. drawing, screenshot or site plan showing where the tree is)
- multiple photos of the tree - including one close up and one of the surrounding area
- letter of authorisation, if applying on behalf of the property owner
- proof of director’s identity if you are applying as a business (e.g. copy of ASIC company extract, copy of driver’s licence).
If you are applying as an owners corporation, please also provide:
- a letter of authorisation from the owners corporation manager supporting the proposed tree works
- the owners corporation number.
Providing insufficient documents may result in delays in the approval of your tree works.
If applying for a permit to prune a tree on a neighbour’s property, we recommend letting them know before you apply.
If you rent, please contact your owner’s corporation or property manager and ask them to apply for a permit and perform the tree works on your behalf.
To apply: Download and complete the Tree Work Permit Application(PDF, 179KB) then email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your tree works permit questions answered
What happens if the tree is on owners’ corporation land?
If the tree(s) is located on land managed by an owners’ corporation, the application must include a letter of authorisation from the property manager, quoting the owners’ corporation number and supporting the proposed tree works.
Will the Tree Works Permit come with conditions?
Yes, in most cases a Tree Works Permit is issued with conditions, including:
- type and extent of pruning works
- qualifications and insurance required by the person undertaking the works
- residential notifications for tree removals
- replacement trees
- permit expiration date.
What happens if a significant tree is pruned or removed without a permit?
Council has zero tolerance for the removal or destruction of significant trees without a permit.
Builders, developers or property owners found responsible for the removal or destruction of significant trees without a Tree Works Permit will be prosecuted.