Removing vegetation (trees and other plants) from your property
You may need a permit
Before you remove, destroy or lop (cut back) vegetation on your property (such as trees, shrubs, orchids, and groundcovers – either native or exotic species), you need to check that you are allowed to do this.
These controls are in accordance with the Cardinia Planning Scheme, our local law and/or rules about native vegetation in the Victorian Government’s Planning and Environment Act.
Fines apply if vegetation is removed without a planning permit when one is required.
Check if you need a planning permit
Follow the questions below to find out if you may need a planning permit to remove vegetation:
Question 1: Is the vegetation on the nature strip, outside your property’s boundary, by the roadside or on your neighbour's side of the fence?
If you answered NO to question 1, go to question 2.
If you answered YES to question 1, in accordance with Local Law 17 you cannot destroy, damage, lop, remove or otherwise interfere with any trees or vegetation (whether living or dead) on any Council land or road (including a road reserve, footpath or nature strip), without our written consent. Contact our Statutory Planning team for advice on 1300 787 624.
If the tree is in your neighbour's yard, go to this page on tree disputes.
Question 2: Is your property 4000 square metres (1 acre) or more in size?
To find out the size of your land, you can:
- check your property’s certificate of title. If you don’t have one, you can order it from the Victorian Government’s Landata website – we do not store title certificates
- get a ‘detailed property report’ from the Victorian Government’s Land Channel website
- call our Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624 to ask. We will provide this information free of charge over the phone, or you can request it in writing.
If you answered NO to question 2, go to question 3.
If you answered YES to question 2, you are likely to need to apply for a planning permit to remove, destroy or lop (cut back) native vegetation (see below). Visit the 'Applying to remove vegetation' web page for more info on applying for a native vegetation planning permit, or contact the Statutory Planning Team for advice on 1300 787 624.
What is native vegetation?
Native vegetation is plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses.
It can be difficult for people who are not trained experts to identify areas of native vegetation that do not include trees. Some of the things to look out for include:
- unimproved pasture – this often includes native grasses
- areas of 'bush' or 'scrub' – particularly on undeveloped blocks, this may include a variety of native plant species
- low-lying areas that will fill with water after rain – these may be wetlands, particularly if they contain reeds
- rushes or sedges
- native trees – particularly large old trees, both alive and dead.
Question 3: Do any of these overlays apply to the land?
- Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO)
- Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO)
- Design and Development Overlay (DDO)
- Heritage Overlay (HO)
- Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO)
- Erosion Management Overlay (EMO)
To find out if any of these overlays apply to your property, follow the instructions on the zones and overlays page.
If you answered NO to question 3, go to question 4.
If you answered YES to question 3, you are likely to need a planning permit to remove, destroy or cut back native or exotic vegetation. Info on overlays can be found from Section 40 of the Cardinia Planning Scheme document, however it’s a complex document so we strongly advise you call our Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624 for advice.
Question 4: Do any planning permit conditions or other restrictions or agreements apply to the property?
Depending on the history of your property, all or some of the vegetation on your land may need to stay there because it is a condition of a previous planning permit.
- an offset management plan or an approved landscape plan – we are likely to have copies of these
- a covenant
- a section 173 agreement.
To find out if planning permit conditions or other restrictions apply to your property, check the certificate of title or property certificate. If you don’t have one, you can order it from the Victorian Government’s Landata website.
If you answered YES to Question 4, you are likely to need to apply to amend the planning permit to remove vegetation, or apply in some other way for permission to do the works you are hoping to do. Contact our Statutory Planning team for advice on 1300 787 624.
If you answered NO to Question 4 and ALL other questions before it, you do not need a permit to remove vegetation on your property.
However we strongly encourage you to:
- replace any vegetation removed by planting the same number of trees or plants on another part of your property. You can use our indigenous plant guide to choose species that will grow well in your area.
- check if the tree has a hollow. You should not remove a tree that has a hollow or a cavity as it may be providing a place for birds or other animals to live.
- assess if the land is steep or subject to erosion. If it is, we advise you to keep the tree or at the very least, keep the stump in the ground to help stabilise the land.