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Urban Forest

Trees and development

Planning for tree protection

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When planning a development the following must be taken into consideration:

  • Opportunities to retain existing trees within the development site and road reserve (Particularly semi-mature and mature trees)
  • Recommendations for design modification to facilitate tree retention should be provided
  • Potential development impacts must be given to all trees located within adjoining properties where located within 3m of the common boundary (Please note that the tree protection area for mature trees located within adjoining properties may be up to 15m and may extend significantly within the site). Potential development impacts include all above and below ground structures, below ground services and changes to existing site gradients. Precautions must be undertaken to minimise impacts to existing trees located within adjoining properties.
  • The arborist shall identify development constraints imposed by trees and provide recommendations for an appropriate developable area given these constraints. To ensure the arborist report is relevant and site specific they must be provided with all the relevant and most current documentation including but not limited to the site plan, stormwater plan, landscape plan, basement plans and elevation drawings.
  • A proposed development which will result in a negative impact to trees or vegetation located within adjoining properties may not be supported.

Arborist report requirements

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Council may request that an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) and Tree Protection Plan (TPP) to accompany the documentation required for lodgement of a development application.

The report and plan must be prepared by a qualified arborist who has a Diploma of Horticulture (Australian Qualifications Framework Level 5).

The report is to include as a minimum:

  • An Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) and Tree Protection Plan (TPP) at 1:100 or 1:200 scale prepared by an AQF Level 5 arborist must be provided upon lodgement of the development application.
  • The AIA shall identify all trees equal to or greater than five (5) metres in height located within the subject site and adjoining properties where located within three (3) metres of the common property boundary or where a tree protection area extends into the development site. The report must identify all trees proposed to be retained or removed as a result of the proposed works and quantify any potential impacts incurred.
  • The plan must include survey detail and show the existing ground levels at the base of each tree, the actual canopy spread to scale, the location of and diameter at breast height (DBH) of the trunk of the tree and a tree number (All trees shall be plotted by a registered surveyor).
  • A schedule documenting botanical and common name, age class, dimensions inclusive of, height, canopy spread, trunk diameter at breast height (DBH), calculated Tree Protection Zone (TPZ), Structural Root Zone (SRZ), calculated development incursions (if any), the health, structure, condition of the tree and provide recommendations in relation to retention values in accordance with AS4970-2009 Protection of Trees on Development Sites.
  • The report must include a tree protection plan where trees are proposed to be retained. The tree protection plan shall identify the tree protection area for each tree and clearly identify the percentage of development encroachment to the root system and canopy of the tree. The tree protection plan shall be site specific and show all proposed development works, including the location of the above and below ground structures and services.
  • The report must list all documentation referenced during the assessment process and demonstrate due consideration to the development in its entirety. The report must address all likely impacts of the proposed development on all trees recommended for retention, and particularly any tree that may require site specific protection measures to minimise impact. Potential development impacts will include all above and below ground structures and services and any potential impacts to the tree canopy. (Do not include generic tree protection information that is not site specific).
  • Detail methodology that has been used to evaluate the health and condition of the trees; determine retention values and determine tree protection zones.
  • Where retained trees have a development setback and tree protection zone established, a recommended tree protection specification and diagram must be provided in accordance with AS4970-2009 Protection of Trees on Development Sites. All site plans are to be amended to indicate the tree protection zone requirements as set forth in the arborist’s report along with any other note requirements that the arborist deems necessary to ensure the long term health and sustainable retention of the trees.

Note: If consideration has not been given to the above preliminary requirements to retain and provide for mature vegetation, particularly large and medium sized trees or consideration has not been shown to minimise impacts to existing mature trees or screening vegetation located within tree protection zones of vegetation on adjoining properties, Council may request design changes to minimise impacts to existing trees and vegetation.


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To maintain urban tree canopy cover, replacement planting may be required as an approval for development. Replacement tree species will be specified or approved by Council and will be of a type suitable for the site.

Tree assessment criteria

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The assessment for removal or pruning of trees forms part of the development application process.

In evaluating an application to alter or remove a tree on private land, the assessment will consider:

  • The environmental, cultural and amenity value of the tree
  • The effect on the health of the tree from branch and/or root pruning
  • Whether the tree shows poor form and shape/vigour  typical of the species
  • Its location within the construction zone of the proposed building and whether design modifications can be made to minimise damage to the tree’s root zone and canopy
  • Whether the tree is located in a habitat corridor and provides habitat or fauna canopy connectivity
  • The evaluation and recommendations of any arborist reports
  • The occurrence (or lack of) other vegetation nearby and whether appropriate replacement species can be planted.

For more information

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If you have any questions you can get in touch with our Customer Service Centre Team on (02) 9806 5050 or at

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