Council Permits For Tree Removal

If you’re considering removing a tree from your property for any reason, there are many different factors to consider. Checking the status of your tree and seeking council permits are small tasks that can save you a big headache. Both local councils and the Queensland state government have a variety of planning and environment laws that can apply to your trees. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re planning a tree removal.

Do You Need A Permit?

The removal of a tree or clearing of any vegetation is governed by the Queensland state Planning Act. This sets a framework that local councils then regulate as well as establishing their own rules. The question of whether you need a permit or not to remove a tree depends on if it is considered ‘protected vegetation’.

The definition of what counts as protected vegetation changes from council to council and may be much broader than you think. Thankfully many council websites have maps and other tools to help you understand if trees on your property are protected.

Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council’s Natural Assets Local Law (NALL) helps to protect bushlands, wetlands, waterway corridors and even trees in urban areas. The NALL along with broader city planning and zoning laws control what kinds of trees can be removed from different properties.

Your property may have protected vegetation if it:

  • is located near or in the Brisbane River or a waterway corridor
  • is located in a bushland area or rural area
  • contains large individual trees in an urban area
  • has heritage value
bisbane city council permits

Trees can be identified as protected regardless of current or future planned use. Native and exotic trees can both be protected even in urban areas if the tree is considered significant. This usually applies to older and larger trees, but can also apply to clusters of smaller trees. While there are some exceptions, mostly if the tree poses an immediate threat to people or property, removal of protected trees will require council permits.

Moreton Bay Regional Council

In the Moreton Bay Region, the council generally identifies protected vegetation with areas of environmental significance. If your property is located in an Environmental Area that is also a Limited Development Zone, according to the council’s planning scheme, you will most likely need a permit to remove a tree. Individual trees can also be protected if they are considered to be significant to native animals’ habitat, heritage, or landscape character.

Dead trees are generally exempt from needing a permit as they can quickly become unstable and dangerous. However, if possums or other animals are living in particular trees that are considered habitat trees, they can remain protected even when they are dead.

moreton bay council permits

Sunshine Coast Council

The Sunshine Coast Council’s Planning Scheme has a section dedicated to vegetation management designed to preserve and protect the natural environment. Trees can be considered protected if they have significant cultural, heritage, character, ecological, scientific, educational, or recreational importance.

Vegetation on your property can be protected by rules under:

  • the vegetation management code within the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme
  • specific vegetation covenants
  • biodiversity, waterways and wetlands overlay codes
  • drainage easements requirements
  • development approval conditions
moreton bay council permits

With a focus on reestablishing and preserving native vegetation, the Sunshine Coast Council offers certain permit exemptions for the removal of some exotic and pest species of trees.

Need Help Navigating Council Rules?

While many councils offer an exemption for the removal of dangerous trees, they often require proof the tree is a hazard in the form of a report from an arborist. Avoid serious fines and even legal action by ensuring you have the right permits before removing any tree on your property.

If you’re ever unsure if removing a tree on your property requires a permit, the best thing to do is contact your local council. Many councils now make planning maps and overlays available online with tools and reports to help you identify if any trees on your property might be protected.

O’Brien’s Tree Care have years of experience removing trees across North Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Our friendly team of locals have extensive knowledge of the region, local tree species and landscape features to help make tree removal easier. Whether it’s time for a tree to go or you’re still in need of some advice, contact us today to discuss your tree removal options.