On this page:
- Protection for trees
- Rules for removing trees
- Guidelines for maintaining trees
- Hazardous trees
- Protection from bushfires
- Related forms
Your trees may be protected:
- by a Vegetation Protection Order (VPO) or Tree Protection Area (TPA)
- by vegetation clearing provisions under the Redland City Plan
- by a covenant
- by a building or development envelope
- by a condition of a development approval controlling vegetation removal on the land
- if a development application has been lodged with Council and a decision is pending.
The bay islands are covered by the tree protection Local Law No. 6 (Protection of Vegetation), and due to amenity requirements Council takes the approach that clearing of vegetation should not occur until building approval has been received.
Whether vegetation is reasonably likely to cause damage, must be determined by a qualified arborist. The property owner is required to submit the form Remove or Trim Vegetation of Private Property [PDF, 1.0MB] with supporting evidence (images of subject trees) and a report prepared by a qualified arborist (minimum AQF5 level).
Vegetation may also be protected by the State government. Before clearing you should contact the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy on 135VEG (13 58 34) or the Department of Environment and Science on 13 QGOC (13 74 68) for information.
Removing trees without approval
You can remove trees from your property without Council approval in certain circumstances. These include when the:
- trees are not located within the Environmental Significance overlay (City Plan)
- extent of clearing does not exceed the area specified in the table of assessment for the Environmental Significance overlay
- trees are not subject to a VPO or TPA.
If in doubt, please contact us with any questions about vegetation on your property.
Removing dead standing trees
Dead standing trees on rural properties are usually protected if they contain significant hollow-bearing limbs or have habitat value. However, they can be rendered safe by pruning to a habitat structure in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373-2007: Pruning of amenity trees.
If you cannot make them safe in proximity to dwellings, structures and access roads, you can remove them.
Dead trees standing on urban lots can be removed as they are considered high risk with no sustainable management options available. If removing a dead standing tree that is considered a high safety risk with no sustainable management options, it is recommended that the property owner captures suitable images of the dead tree and the surrounding area in the event that evidence is requested by a Council Officer when investigating proposed illegal tree clearing allegations.
It is an offence to remove protected vegetation without an approval and penalties can apply. Penalties can include fines or a requirement that the vegetation be restored. Council can help if you are unsure whether your clearing requires approval. Contact us on (07) 3829 8999 with any questions about vegetation on your property.
Routine pruning and tree maintenance should be done in line with the guidelines set out in Australian Standard AS4373-2007: Pruning of amenity trees.
It is recommended that a qualified arborist (minimum AQF3 level) is engaged to perform tree maintenance works on trees within private property. This ensures that the pruning works are in accorance with AS4373-2007: Pruning of Amenity Trees
Tree management practices includes the following:
- removal of deadwood
- removal of hazardous limbs
- canopy lift
- canopy reduction
- formative pruning
- selective pruning
- canopy thinning
- remedial or restorative pruning
- removal of environmental and declared weed species
- removal of regrowth associated with the maintenance of existing, pasture, cultivated fields, firebreaks, lawn or garden areas, and boundary fence lines
- pruning to avoid or prevent damage to above-ground services.
Other activities that may result in damage to protected trees will need Council approval. Please contact us with any questions about vegetation on your property.
Whether vegetation is reasonably likely to cause damage, must be determined by a qualified arborist. In the event that the tree is protected, a Tree Assessment Report will need to be submitted to council in support of the application form, to determine if the tree should be retained, pruned or removed. The arborist assessing the tree needs to have minimum AQF5 level qualifications. Engaging the services of a qualified arborist will ensure that the recommendations are based on considerable field experience, industry knowledge and the characteristics of the tree species and the immediate growing environment.
The arborist will assess the following:
- the health and structural integrity of the tree
- the height and proximity of the tree to dwellings and structures
- how frequently people are around the tree
- wind loading and predominant wind patterns
- drainage conditions around the root zone
- past limb failures
- encroachment within the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ)
- social and amenity considerations
- the significance of the tree to the surrounding area
- habitat value.
Council’s qualified arborist can provide advice about vegetation that is causing concern. Council approval is generally required to remove unsafe vegetation unless it is necessary to remove or reduce an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to infrastructure posed by the vegetation. If removing a tree and/or limb that is considered a high safety risk, it is recommended that the property owner captures suitable images of the subject tree and the surrounding area in the event that evidence is requested by a Council Officer when investigating proposed illegal tree clearing allegations. Contact us for more information.
If your property is located in an area with a bushfire risk, we recommend that you develop a bushfire survival plan, with a rural property fire management guide. See our information on bushfire safety.
Bushfire Hazard Management - Maintaining a firebreak or fire management line
- Clearing to establish a firebreak must be minimised and may be achieved by removing undergrowth whilst retaining established trees.
- It is highly recommended that the property owner gather information regarding the fire risk from a qualified professional or advice from Queensland Fire Service. Council is unable to provide this advice.
- Alternatively, you can request advice from the Department of Environment and Science - General contacts | Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (des.qld.gov.au)
- Remove and trim vegetation on private property [PDF, 1.0MB]
- Vegetation protection order application [PDF, 1.0MB]
- Vegetation clearing fact sheet [PDF, 1.0MB]
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999- Protection for endangered vulnerable species (e.g. koalas)
- Vegetation management (Queensland Government)
- Removing marine vegetation on tidal flats and immediately adjacent land (Queensland Government)
- Regional endangered remnant ecosystems (Queensland Government)