Urban Street and Parks Tree Policy (334 KB)
Contact the Council before cutting, damaging or removing any trees on your land, as you may require a planning permit to remove individual trees, even if they are:
- close to a house
- causing a fire risk
- causing a problem with drains
In some instances, land titles have a tree protection order attached, requiring written approval from Council before trees can be removed. Contact Council's Development Services to check whether a permit is required and what provisions apply. Please give a good description of the tree's location and the problem. If you are removing a tree or trees as part of a development application you need to indicate the locations of the tree or trees on your plans. Council officers will decide whether the trees should be removed or not in their overall assessment of the development.
Clearing large numbers of trees
In general terms:
- if you are harvesting or clearing more than 1 hectare of trees or 100 tonnes of timber, from land which is not vulnerable, for any purpose; or
- if more than 6 tree ferns are being harvested:
you are required under the Forest Practices Act 1985 to obtain a Forest Practices Plan. These are assessed and issued by the Forest Practices Authority and are completely separate from any Council approval. Further information about the Forest Practices Authority and Forest Practices Plans can be found on the Forest Practices Authority website.
If you are clearing "vulnerable" land you must always first obtain a Forest Practices Plan, regardless of the size of the area. Vulnerable land is defined in the Forest Practices Regulations 1997 as land:
- more than 800 metres above sea level
- within 40 metres of a watercourse
- having a slope of more than 26 degrees
- within 2 km upstream of a water supply intake
- that is habitat for threatened species, as defined under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.
When you submit a request to remove a tree it will be assessed by Council's Planning Department as to whether you need a permit. If it is determined that a permit is required, you will be asked to provide further information and submit a development application.
If a planning permit is required to remove a tree, a charge for processing the application will be payable.
Objecting to Tree Removal
It is possible to object and also to appeal Council's decision, if:
- a Planning Permit is required to remove a tree and the application is advertised, or
- the tree or trees are part of a larger development proposal which is advertised.
If you object, you must do so to the Council, within 14 days of the development proposal being advertised. If you wish to appeal Council's decision you must:
- have already lodged an objection to the Council with regard to the proposal
- submit your appeal to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT) within 14 days of receiving notice of Council's decision.
The Tribunal charges a fee for lodging an appeal and a special form must be filled out. The Tribunal can be contacted on 03 6233 6464.
A clear explanation of the process involved in appealing against planning decisions can be found in Chapter 5 of the Environmental Law Handbook, 2nd Edition, published by the Environmental Defenders Office. It is available from their office at 131 Macquarie St, Hobart, Ph: 6223 2770 and also from all major bookstores and Service Tasmania outlets.
Tree Removal on Neighbours or Council Land
An individual cannot, under any circumstances, just remove, lop or trim a tree which is on a property not owned by you. Council's do not generally get involved in negotiations between neighbours regarding trees. It is up to you to talk to your neighbour and work out a mutually acceptable solution.
If your neighbour decides they do want to remove a tree they will need to liaise with Council to determine if a planning permit is required.
If the land is Council owned, you will need to submit a Service Action Request Form stating where the tree is and the issue. A Council representative will inspect the tree and if a decision is made to remove it, there may be a public notification period, which allows members of the public the opportunity to lodge a representation.
If the tree is on Crown land, you will need to contact the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment to obtain consent. The removal of trees on Crown land may also require a planning permit.
Clearing of Vegetation for Fencing Adjoining Council Land
Before undertaking any works residents should first contact Council for advice regarding the clearing of vegetation for fencing adjoining land owned or managed by Council (for example a road, park or reserve). Residents who are establishing, maintaining or renewing fence lines should not remove/clear or trim vegetation past 300mm of the boundary without a vegetation assessment from Council officers and in some cases an arborist’s assessment. Residents will need to prove that the fence is being placed on the correct boundary position through evidence of a boundary survey or survey pegs. Residents should contact Council, and provide details of the request including contact details and the address of the property the query relates to by sending an email to email@example.com, this will generate a Service Action Request Form and a council officer will contact you.
Neighbourhood Disputes Relating to Plants
The Neighbourhood Disputes About Plants Act was introduced by the State Government on 1 December 2017. This Act is designed "to provide a cost effective and efficient process for the resolution of neighbourhood disputes related to plants, including disputes related to the loss of sunlight and views".
The Act outlines the responsibilities of landowners in respect to plants. These include:
- Removing any branches of the plant that overhang another area of land;
- Ensuring that a plant does not cause serious injury to a person or serious damage to another area of land or any property on land; and
- Ensuring that a plant does not cause substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of another area of land.
The Act also outlines processes for neighbours to resolve issues or disputes that arise in relation to problem trees, hedges or other vegetation. We suggest you read the information on neighbourhood disputes about plants and recommendations for resolving them informally. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your neighbour informally, you can file an application with the Tribunal.
TASCAT can make a legally enforceable decision on the matter. However applying to the Tribunal should be seen as a last resort. It’s always better if you and your neighbour can resolve the problem together and stay on good terms. If disputes are unable to be resolved by informal dispute resolution, the Resource & Planning Stream of the Tasmanian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) can help resolve neighbourhood tree disputes under the Neighbourhood Disputes About Plants Act 2017.
Legislation can be located from www.thelaw.tas.gov.au or an overview of the Act is available here.
Some Council's have a Significant Tree Register, a Tree Preservation Order or trees and gardens that are listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register. These may apply to particular trees, or all the trees in a certain area or zone. These trees cannot be damaged or removed without a permit.
Contact the Council on 6323 9300 to find out what the situation is in your area.
Tree Roots and Drains
Tree roots can be aggressive and can often exert pressure on buildings, footpaths, fences and pipes. Existing cracks in pipes allow root invasion, as tree roots will seek out sources of moisture and nutrients.
Pouring herbicides down blocked drains will not clear the roots but will almost certainly result in pollution problems and will kill the tree. Find out where the drains and pipes are on your property before planting large trees. Many Councils have information about trees to avoid near drains.
Plans of public and relevant private drains can be viewed by contacting Council's Development Services.