Native vegetation in Victoria is valuable and is protected under legislation. Planning seeks to ensure that there is no net loss to biodiversity as a result of the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation. This is achieved by applying the following three step approach:
- Avoid the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation.
- Minimise impacts from the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation that cannot be avoided.
- Provide an offset to compensate for the biodiversity impact if a permit is granted to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation.
What is Native Vegetation?
Native vegetation is defined in planning schemes as plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses.
What if I want to remove Native Vegetation?
A planning permit is typically required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation, including dead vegetation. This does not apply if there is an exemption in clause 52.17 - Native Vegetation that specifically states a permit is not required and/or if an exemption is provided under a relevant overlay. For more information about exemptions please click here. Please note: Exemptions may not apply in certain areas including coastal areas, wetlands or in areas with heritage values. Prior to removing any native vegetation, you should check planning permit requirements with Council’s Environmental Planner by calling 1300 366 244.
An application to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation is assessed in accordance with - Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 2017).
When a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation. The following material must accompany the application:
- A site plan showing the native vegetation and property in context and containing a north point, property boundaries, to scale and the location of any patches of native vegetation, the number of trees to be removed within the native vegetation patch and the location of scattered trees proposed to be removed including the circumference of the tree in cm and measured at a height of 1.3m above ground level;
- A description of the native vegetation to be removed that includes whether the vegetation is a patch or a scattered tree, the area (in hectares), the number and circumference (in cm and measured at 1.3m above ground level), the biodiversity value calculated in accordance with guidelines and if the vegetation to be removed includes endangered Ecological Vegetation Classes or is a sensitive wetland/coastal area;
- The assessment pathway and reason for the assessment pathway. This includes the location category of the native vegetation to be removed (A planning officer can assist in determining the assessment pathway in an initial pre-application appointment);
- The offset requirement that will apply if the native vegetation is approved to be removed;
- Evidence that the required offset is available to be purchased or secured on site;
- Topographic information including steep slopes and drainage lines;
- Recent dated photographs of the native vegetation to be removed;
- Details of other native vegetation removed within 5 years of the application being submitted.
Please note that there are online tools to help compile an application to remove native vegetation.
In certain circumstances, vegetation can be removed without a planning permit, for protection from bushfire. If in doubt, please phone Council’s Environmental Planner on 1300 366 244 or visit Vegetation Management for Bushfire Protection.
Firewood collection in Victoria is managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Further information is available from their Firewood Collection web page.
Wellington Shire Council does not permit firewood collection from any Council-managed roadside reserve. Penalties apply for firewood which is collected illegally.
Compliance Officers often investigate the illegal removal of native vegetation. If you suspect someone is removing vegetation from their property illegally, or especially if vegetation is being removed from public land, please report the offence to us on 1300 366 244. The loss of native vegetation and destruction of the coastal and lake foreshores is very important to us and the community.
Detailed information about applying for a permit to remove native vegetation can be found here.
Further tools have been prepared to support the guidelines which include:
Further information on planning requirements for removal, destroying and lopping native vegetation under the Wellington Planning Scheme can be provided by contacting Council's Statutory Planning Department on 1300 366 244.