Anyone wishing to prune or remove a tree that is located on private property should first check local council regulations to see if you need council approval to do so. If an approval is required, follow the following steps.
1. Go to your local council website (google search)
2. Navigate or search for the councils ‘Tree Preservation Order’ (TOP)
5. Fill out and either lodge in person down at the local chambers or post the form in along with a payment. Once the form has arrived and payment has been cleared, the councils will then send out their qualified arborist (in as little as a few hours or up to 2 weeks) to assess the problem the tree is causing and whether to give approval or disapproval.
(Note: If the tree is blocking gutters/ storm water or lifting the driveway, it is generally not a strong enough case for them to give approval. They will only give approval if they must. Trick: Mention the tree has been dropping large branches and you are worried for your kids/ pedestrian etc. safety. Because technically they own the tree even though it’s on your property, they are also liable for injury or death. They will in most cases err on the side of caution and give you approval)
5.5 At this point, the council may ask for an arborist report on the tree (cost generally between $400 – $750). Remember just because you are paying this Arborist to do a report on the tree doesn’t mean they will give you approval. When they come out to assess the tree, make sure you grill them on the likelihood of them giving you approval. If they are not sure (that’s a no so get another one in)
6. Once approval has been given, you generally have between 6 – 12 months to carry out the work. In a lot of cases the councils require you to plan 2 x trees for every 1 tree removed. If you do not wish to plant 2 x new trees (which the councils will generally check on, but only once) on your property, you can pay the councils to plant them on your behalf at a local park.
7. Get a minimum of 3 quotes from local tree contractors and choose the best one to do the job.
Didn’t Get Approval?
It seems the closer you get to the water in any city of Australia and the approval rate for tree removal or tree pruning falls drastically. If you do not get approval you can either re-lodge the case with that local council or take the matter to court, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.