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Do I need council permissions to cut a tree down?
Even though you own your land, the trees on it belong to the community. The reason for this distinction is trees serve the community as a whole by purifying the air, reducing the heat island effect of cities, prevent erosion and beautify the neighborhood.
You will need to see council permission to cut a tree down on your property once they reach a certain height. There are circumstances when you do not need to seek approval from council.
You will not need permission when your tree is:
- Already fallen
- Recognized noxious species
- it’s too small to be considered “significant”
- Is too close you’re your house
- It’s in a fire hazard zone
Every council is different in their definition of a significant tree so you will need to refer to your local council rules to see if you are safe to remove.
What happens if I cut down a tree without permission?
Local councils and cities take tree protection very seriously and heavy fines apply if you remove a tree without first seeking permission. Depending on the tree being removed and the circumstances surrounding it but fines normally start at $2000 and go right up to $100,000 for multiple offences on a single site.
A lot of the time it’s property developers who get in trouble for removing trees without permission.
They might have had a Development Application knocked back due to the council wanting to retain one or more trees. So they remove them, wear the fine and develop the property.
Other cases are from home owners removing trees that are blocking their view or dropping too many leaves.
How do I find the tree removal laws for my area?
There are a couple of ways to go about it. The easiest way is to use our free resource of local council regulations. Just select your city, then local council and you will be taken to the correct information on tree protection on your local council website.
Another way is to get in touch with three local and verified arborist and ask them you need permission and if they can come out and give you a price form removal while they are at it.
Note: Arborists will need to come out and inspect the job before giving a quote on the cost to cut down your tree. Trees are tricky to quote over the phone from a description or pictures.
The third way would be to phone up your local council and ask to speak to the arborist officer concerning a tree on your property. They will soon tell you whether you will need approval or not.
Do I need permission if tree is dead?
If your tree is dead you will not need to see permission for removal. In fact once it has died, you should actually get it removed ASAP as they tend to become unstable quite quickly.
Once the tree has dies the only think keeping it anchored to the ground are the roots. Once they start to become brittle and rot, it’s anyone’s guess when it will fall.
Do I need a good reason to remove a tree?
Yes you will need to have a convincing reason to remove the tree. If not the council will reject your request. Some reason that will NOT work are, (read the following in a Bogan Shaza voice for better effect)
– “The roots are blocking the storm water”
– “ It drops too many leave and their blocking the gutters
– “ It’s just too big”
– “it’s blocking my vieeeew”
To actually lodge a successful application to council and get approval to remove your tree you need one of the following reasons:
– Tree has developed a lean recently
– It keeps dropping large branches and my kids play in the yard
– It’s visibly sick and getting unsafe
– It is cracking the foundations of my house
– It’s infested with white ants.
Anything outside of the above and you’re going to have a hard time convincing council to give you approval.
Remember tree removal applications get knocked back every day, so make sure you have a good reason before you apply.
We have actually written a whole article just on getting approval for your tree removal from council, so check it out here for more ideas.
Will council remove the tree for me?
Ahhhh no. The only trees council will touch are the ones on public land such as in parks and nature reserves. It’s quite ironic that they can give or deny you permission to remove a tree, but you need to pay for it once the overlords given you their approval.
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