Regulated and Significant Trees
What is a Regulated Tree?
Regulated trees are defined by the Development Act as a native or exotic tree with a trunk circumference of
- in the case of single trunk trees, two metres or greater when measured one metre above the natural ground level; or
- in the case of multiple trunked trees, where there is a total circumference of greater than two metres and an average circumference of 625 millimetres or greater.
What is a Significant Tree?
Significant trees are defined by the Development Act as a native or exotic tree with a trunk circumference of
- in the case of single trunk trees, three metres or greater when measured one metre above the natural ground level; or
- in the case of multiple trunked trees, where there is a total circumference of greater than three metres and an average circumference of 625 millimetres or greater.
The regulations apply to trees on both public and private land.
There are a number of exclusions pertaining to situations and species of tree. Refer to Protecting Regulated and Significant Trees(443 kb) for more information.
Why protect trees?
Trees, particularly mature trees, provide a valuable contribution to the amenity of an area. In addition, they provide shade and a habitat for wildlife. Trees have potential economic benefits including increased property values from the high amenity created by lush tree lined areas. Other benefits include:
- improved air quality
- reducing micro-climates by up to 8°C
- increase biodiversity and habitat
- energy savings
- removing pollutants from stormwater
- reducing flooding implications by absorbing rainfall and surface water
- reducing wind speeds
What activities affecting Regulated and Significant Trees require approval?
The regulations which apply to a significant tree include
- removal; or
- killing or destruction; or
- branch or limb lopping; or
- ringbarking or topping; or
- damaging the root system.
Any of the above activities will require a development approval from Council.
You will need to provide the following information when lodging an application:
- completed Trees Development Application Form(100 kb) with the correct species identified
- site plan identifying the location of the subject tree
- a number of photos clearly showing the subject tree
- an arborist report may also be required to be provided in some circumstances
Download the Protecting Regulated and Significant Trees Information Sheet(443 kb) for more information.
Maintenance pruning not likely to affect the health or appearance of the tree does not require approval from Council. Maintenance pruning is generally accepted as meaning:
- the removal of deadwood; or
- the removal of foreign matter deemed to be detrimental to the tree (such as ivy).
It is recommended that you contact Council or refer to the Government Information sheet Protecting Regulated and Significant Trees (443 kb) for clarification prior to commencing any work on a regulated or significant tree as heavy fines of up to $120,000 apply for illegal works.
Council recommends that any work undertaken to regulated or significant trees be in accordance with Australian Standard 4373-2007 'Pruning of Amenity Trees' and be undertaken by an appropriately qualified arboriculturist, botanist or horticulturist.
An application can be lodged with Council in respect to a regulated or significant tree on neighbouring land. The cooperation and/or agreement of the owner of the tree must be obtained prior to any action on their land, even if Council has approved the removal or pruning of the tree.