Council understands that trees are highly valued in the community and so will not consider removing a tree until it has been assessed by our arborist and if the removal is in keeping with our Street Tree Policy(PDF, 12KB).
We will only consider removing trees that are:
- structurally unsound
- likely to be seriously damaged or likely to become hazardous as a result of other approved infrastructure works
If the tree is healthy and presents an acceptable level of risk, it is likely to be retained so that it can continue to provide all of its benefits to the environment and the community.
We don’t generally remove trees for the following reasons:
- the tree drops leafs, twigs or fruit
- the tree provides too much shade
- tree size
- a person’s dislike of a certain species or where it is planted
- property clearance
For allergies, medically-verified allergy testing results need to be provided to Council, before Council will consider a request to remove a tree for this reason.
When Council removes or plants trees it will consult with the local community. The level of consultation will change dependent on the size and specifics of the project. If the tree is removed, a replacement tree will be planted in either the same position or nearby if another location for the tree is determined to be more suitable.
Unauthorised removal of a tree
Council takes unauthorised removal of trees, or suspected poisoning or vandalism caused to trees, extremely seriously and offenders can be fined under Council’s local laws.
Where trees of significance have been vandalised or damaged, the cost of the tree valuation will be pursued to replace the cost of the lost asset.
If you are unhappy with the arborist’s findings and decisions, you can request a review. The request for a review of the tree removal decision will be assessed by the Coordinator of Trees, who will assess the tree further and provide recommendations based on visual trees assessment.
Should the matter not be resolved, it will be referred to the Manager City Services.
Tree removal on private property
Trees are a huge asset to the community, the environment and to individual properties; we would strongly encourage residents to retain trees on private property and to replace any trees removed.
Generally trees can be removed from private property without Council permission, unless the tree has a diameter at chest height of 450mm, or is protected through the provisions of a planning permit or an overlay in the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme(PDF, 5MB). In these cases you will require Council permission before undertaking any works.
If you are interested to have a tree growing on your property removed you can contact Council on 9932 1000 and request an assessment.
How to report a tree issue
Impact of storms
In the case of any urgent issues with a tree, such as a fallen or hanging branch, residents can contact the Council on 9932 1000 (24 hours).
Following storms and bad weather, Council will prioritise requests with a risk to personal safety, such as:
- a tree or branch has fallen over a road or obstructing access to property
- a tree or branch fallen on to an overhead electrical wire
- a tree or branch is in danger of falling or damaging a property
After Council has ensured the trees are made safe, it will then remove debris and branches and respond to other tree-related requests, such as branches obstructing footpaths. Our regular tree maintenance program may be suspended until all emergency works are complete.
Reporting a tree pruning or maintenance issue
All maintenance issues can be reported through the Council website. You can upload a photo of the tree to assist us respond to your request. Alternatively, you can contact Council on 9932 1000.
Tree roots and storm water pipe damage
Trees may not be the primary cause for any structural damage to private property. Properly constructed and maintained pipes are designed to withstand normal tree root and traffic loadings. While tree roots may enter a pipe in poor condition, through cracks in the pipes or joints, the cause of the damage can be as a result of ground movement due to such factors as:
- inadequate or poor quality footings
- poor drainage or inadequate storm water discharge
- damaged, leaking water or sewerage pipes
- failure at joints between terracotta/earthenware and PVC
- nearby construction disturbance
- alterations to the property
- service pits such as gas or Telstra
- parking on naturestrips
It is a property owner’s responsibility to ensure that all pipes on their property are completely sealed to prevent roots entering. Under the Local Government Act Council will only issue permission to property owners to carry out works related to the installation of storm water and drainage pipes. And even in the case of Council granting permission for the use of Council land to enable a connection, this does not cause a transfer of any property rights in the connection pipe.
If you believe that a Council street tree has caused damage, you will need to provide evidence that the damage has been overtly caused by the Council tree by providing a geotechnical (soil engineer) report on the site accompanied by photographs. This will help establish whether in fact it was Council tree roots that caused the problem or if the pipe had been damaged due to other reasons.
In some instances, where mechanical displacement to pipes is proven by the property owner to have been caused by a large tree root and pipe failure has occurred, the property owner can seek compensation from Council for loss or damage arising from an incident involving street trees, by completing a Request for Compensation(PDF, 690KB) form.
If a Council tree is proven to be causing damage to private property, our arborist will review measures to prevent the damage continuing and ultimately retain the tree. As a last resort the tree may be removed.