How to Successfully Apply to Council for Tree Removal
Ben McInerney – Last updated 13 March, 2018
Need a good reason to remove a tree in your council application?
Not sure if you can remove your tree without council approval?
Everything you need to know about removing your tree legally.
Can my tree be removed without council approval?
There is a good chance it can be removed without approval!
All local councils have whats called a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which outlines rules for tree maintenance and removal.
This allows you to check whether your tree can be removed without council approval.
Quickly and easily check now for yourself…
Pro Tip: There will also be rules about proximity to your home, tree size and maximum percentage that can be removed if pruning the tree, all without council consent.
Example: Trees within 3m of your homes foundations can be removed without approval. (most councils have a variation of this rule)
TPO is outlining that trees less than 5m high or within 3m of your home don’t need approval.
Think you do need council approval?
If your tree is not exempt, then you need to put in an application to council
1. Type this into google “tree removal application form [your council]”
2. Download .PDF
3. Print and fill in the details.
4. Pay any money required
5. Wait 1 – 2 weeks for n officer to come out and have a look.
Good reasons to remove a tree for council application
If your reason on the application form for removing your tree is because it’s “lifting pavers” or “filling the gutters with leaves”, then you have literally no chance of getting approval. They will reject your application.
Councils will always do what they can to save the tree frist.
Best reasons for removal
Dangerous: This is the best reason. Councils are always afraid of being sued. Basically putting them on notice that if someone gets hurt or killed, they will be held accountable as you want it gone should be enough to convince them.
If you can provide evidence of deadwood or branches falling this is a much stronger case. Always mention you have kids playing under the tree on a regular basis or pedestrians walking under the tree etc.
If you tree has a slight lean, maybe mention that it only happened recently and you are scared of it coming down.
Dead: Trees that have died do not need approval for council removal. Now I am not telling you to poison your tree. That’s illegal. Just letting you know that if it were to die you could remove the tree no problem at all.
Cost Calculator for Tree Lopping
The application will look like this...
Has your council asked for an arborist report?
This is where things can get a little dicey.
Some councils will ask for a report to be prepared by an independent arborist. The arborist will draw up a very detailed report on their ‘opinion’ on whether approval for the trees removal should be granted.
Based on that report the council will make their decision.
Your next move is important...
There are two types of arborist. There is a consulting arborist and a working arborist. The former just does reports and the later does reports and also does the hands on work.
In my opinion/experience your best going with the later, a working arborist.
When you think about it, it’s in their best interests that the tree is removed as they will probably get the job and earn more money if they approval it for removal.
They are on your side. A consulting arborist is a little more nutural.
Disclaimer: This is not a rule of thumb, as every tree, situation and council are different, but it’s an observation of my 14 years in the industry.
What do arborist reports cost?
This can vary greatly from case to case.
It will also depend on what level or arborist is required (Cert. III arborist or Cert. V), number of trees involved and how soon you need it.
Single Tree, Cert III – Cert. V Arborist, you will be looking at $400 – $700
What if the arborist say's the tree needs to stay?
Depending on the tree/ arborist/ local council, the report might come back that the tree needs to stay.
If you’re not happy with that then get a second opinion! This can get expensive considering reports average around $500 for a single tree. So try and feel out the arborist to see what he thinks before you commission the report to be drawn up.
If you don’t think it’s going to be favourable for you, then get another one that’s singing the tune you want to hear.
Still don't know what to do?
… Don’t worry
There are local contractors ready to help you with this.
Simply fill in the quick form on the right, and we can get you in touch with up to 3 local arborist who can give you:
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