Tree Removal and Planting - Frequently Asked Questions
A Planning Permit issued by Meander Valley Council is usually required if a resident wishes to remove a tree/s from a property located in an urban area and towns.
However, there are a number of circumstances where a tree/s can be removed without the need for a Planning Permit:
- If the tree is within 10 metres of a building
- To reduce a hazard such as fire or blocked drains
- The tree is diseased.
For a detailed list of tree removal Planning Permit exemptions refer to Section 4:11 of the Planning Scheme. It is recommended you consult with Meander Valley Council if you are in any doubt before removing any tree/s.
In certain circumstances you may not require a Planning Permit to remove a tree/s from your rural property:
- reduction of a hazard (including fire)
- clearing of regrowth
- improvements to existing pasture or cropping land
- removal of a tree/s adjacent to fences.
Depending on the amount of trees and vegetation to be removed, the type of vegetation and the land features involved, you may require an endorsed Forest Practices Plan. Further information about the Forest Practices Authority and Forest Practices Plan can be found on the Forest Practices Authority's website www.fpa.tas.gov.au/ . If a Forest Practices Plan is required you will also need to obtain a Planning Permit from Meander Valley Council.
It is best to contact Council for guidance when clearing any large amounts or groupings of trees and vegetation.
The planning fee varies depending on the amount of trees to be removed. For removal of trees on existing urban lots the fee is $105.00 (as at 1 July 2010), whilst removal of trees on rural properties is either $160.00 or $300.00 depending on whether a Forest Practices Plan is required or not.
If your property is heritage listed with the Tasmanian Heritage Council, you will need to contact both Meander Valley Council and Heritage Tasmania to discuss your proposal.
Trees on public land, including nature strips are Council assets and can only be pruned, removed or otherwise interfered with by Meander Valley Council staff or contractors engaged by Council.
Planting of trees in a naturestrip should only be undertaken with the approval of Council and must conform to Council's planting policies and standards and be under the control of Council.
Where a planting does not meet these conditions the resident adjacent to the naturestrip shall be notified to remove the tree within a specified time. If the request is not complied with, the tree will be removed by Council staff.
Council is happy for residents to take an interest and care in the appearance of their naturestrips. Planting of the nature strip is encouraged. A resident must formally request and receive permission from Council prior to doing any work in the naturestrip. As a general guide the following information is provided:
- The resident accepts that no recourse is available for damage to the planting by a service authority or Council activity
- Plants do not exceed 50cm in height
- Trees have or will be maintained to produce a clear stem of 3 metres minimum
- Plants do not interfere with traffic visibility
- No hazard is created
- No weed species are used
- Plants do not conflict with an approved planting or streetscape plan
- The planting style is compatible with the surrounding landscape
- The planting is maintained by the resident to an approved standard by Council
- The planting conforms to a landscape plan provided by the resident at the time of planting
- A minimum clear width of 1.5 metres is available for the safe passage of pedestrians.
Council may remove any offending parts or the whole planting if it does not conform to the above requirements.
Pruning of Council owned trees to provide or maintain views from private properties shall not be permitted.
Council owned trees shall be pruned to:
- Maintain public safety through removal of potential hazards both existing and likely to develop
- Maintain health through the removal of dead or diseased tissue
- Maintain prescribed clearances from services
- Maintain prescribed clearances over roads, footpaths and driveways
- Ensure traffic safety and visibility of street signs.
Contact Council's office on 6393 5300 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org to advise the situation. Council staff will take on the responsibility of having the overhanging branches removed.
Council often receives complaints about trees and overhanging branches from neighbouring properties. Council has no jurisdiction over such matters and as such this needs to be resolved between neighbours.
It is Meander Valley Council's understanding however, that you can remove limbs from a neighbours tree that overhangs into your property. It is best advised to seek your own legal advice on these matters if the issue cannot be resolved mutually between neighbours.
It is recommended that before any planting is done of large tree species that you find out where the services (e.g. drains and pipes) are located on your property. Meander Valley Council and Dial Before You Dig can assist in advising the location of services on your property.
If the fault is on private land then a plumber should be called to rectify the problem. If the issue is caused by damage to Council infrastructure then this matter should be referred to Meander Valley Council, phone 03 6393 5300 and ask for the matter to be logged on our Customer Service Request system. A Council Officer will investigate the matter on-site to attempt to resolve the issue. No work is to be undertaken to Council assets without our consent.
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. It is the responsibility of the owner of the tree in question to have the roots cut or have the tree removed if it is interfering with any building or structure or is under other land.
Contact Council's office on 6393 5300 or by email email@example.com to advise the tree location and hazard.
The response by Council to damage caused by trees will vary according to the type and extent of the damage. Council's response to an insurance claim will be in accordance with the Insurance Claim Management Work Procedures.
Contact Meander Valley Council's on 03 6393 5300 for after-hours support. A list of options will be provided as to the emergency concern, with a mobile phone contact provided.
All concerns regarding Council owned trees are to be directed to Council's office on 6393 5300 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meander Valley Council encourages community support and involvement to provide a well treed environment through prudent management of all trees for which Council has the care and responsibility. The main areas of concern to Meander Valley residents as they relate to tree management are the retention of natural values, scenic, threatened species, and road safety. This is effected by existing tree location, safety, damage caused by trees, tree pruning and new tree planting.
Council has a Tree Management Policy (link to policy) and the objective of this policy is to ensure that appropriate processes and strategies are put in place to ensure that trees within the Municipality including private land and Council owned roads, reserves and parks are appropriately managed. This includes retaining the appropriate values both social and environmental as well as ensuring that our community and road users are safe.
Tree planting is an essential component of the management of Council's tree assets. Continued planting is required to replace aged, failed and inappropriately placed trees and to plant out any unplanted streets and, where appropriate, to revegetate rural road verges. Management issues associated with tree planting include prioritisation of planting sites, planting location, species selection and post planting maintenance.
Council will inform and involve (where appropriate) the community prior to new plantings and the removal of existing trees. Consultation is considered a requirement where it is deemed that works will have a significant impact on the community. Examples may include removal/replacement of older trees and where adjoining land owners are affected. Methods of communication to the community may include via committees of Council, letter drops, local newspapers, door knock, or use of signage and other markers.
Meander Valley Council maintains all road reserves within its municipality. Native or heritage species (where they currently exist) are the choice selection for the planting of road reserves and scenic corridors.
The establishment or maintenance of an avenue of trees or a consistent planting theme can sometimes require Council to plant a tree in a nature strip, park or on a rural roadside against the wishes of the resident immediately adjacent. This is a difficult situation that requires Council to make a decision regarding the benefits to the wider community over the concerns of an individual resident.
Where a consistent avenue of trees or a consistent planting theme exists and a gap in this scheme will detrimentally affect the overall streetscape, trees can be planted to fill the gap(s) where such planting is considered to be in the wider community interest.
In all other cases, consideration will be given to the grounds of resident objections recognizing that successful establishment is dependant on the co-operation of residents before deciding whether to attempt or continue attempting to establish a tree or indigenous vegetation in that location.