• VCAT

May 2, 2024

How do you know if council will support tree removal?

Councils three step approach is to – Avoid, Minimise, Offset.

Councils default position on tree removal is to avoid it if possible, minimise it if required and offset any vegetation loss with replanting within the site as part of a landscape plan, typically at a ratio of 2:1 for each tree removed.

Trees have a defined ‘retention value‘ of high, medium or low. The retention value is determined by a consulting arborist. The lower the retention value of the tree, the more likely its removal will be supported.

What is an arborists role?

A credible arborists report will allow you to proactively predict whether council will support the tree removal. There needs to be compelling reasons for council to support the removal of high retention value trees. Circumstances where council might support the removal of high retention value trees include if it is centrally located on the site and retention is not possible as part of a development on the site.

Even low retention trees require offsets.

Expect Council to require replanting at a ratio of 2:1 for each tree removed on the site. This will likely form a condition of approval for the development. Trees with a low retention value will typically need to be replaced by a higher value tree. It is also typical for council to require a dedicated landscape plan by a professional landscape architect to nominate the location and species of the offset replanting.

Trees that are identified as weeds are not subject to replanting offsets.

Is approval or offsets required to remove shrubs, grass or garden beds?

Typically only trees with a trunk diameter greater than 150mm are considered ‘trees’ for the purposes of a planning application. Garden beds, shrubs and lawns are not subject to offset replanting requirements. A land survey that correctly distinguishes trees from shrubs and grasses, that is consistent with the consulting arborists report can avoid unnecessary downtime answering follow up queries from council.

Every Council prefer to retain ‘high retention value’ trees as part of a development. Contact our team for a preliminary, obligation free discussion if you need to remove any site trees your consulting arborist has classed as high retention.