Native vegetation in Victoria is important and needs protecting. See our Natural Environment section for further details on how you can help protect native vegetation.
Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, native vegetation is defined as all plants that are indigenous to Victoria (species occurring naturally before European settlement). This includes trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses.
Vegetation Protection Management
The State Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Permitted Clearing of Native Vegetation - Biodiversity Assessment Guidelines (September 2013) document outlines how impacts on Victoria's biodiversity are assessed when an application to remove native vegetation is lodged.
What Does This Mean for You?
The Wellington Planning Scheme (WPS) specifies that a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation (including dead vegetation), unless an exemption applies. Clause 52.17 of the WPS specifies that a planning permit is not required for native vegetation removal from properties smaller than 4000m2 (0.4 hectare or 1 acre). Further exemptions can be found in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning New Exemptions for Native Vegetation Removal in Planning Schemes document.
In addition to Clause 52.17 native vegetation requirements, other overlays on properties may trigger the need for a planning permit. This includes the Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO), Heritage Overlay (HO), Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) or Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO).
Prior to removing any native vegetation, you should check planning permit requirements with Council’s Environmental Planner by phoning 1300 366 244.
Planning Permit Requests
When a planning permit is required, a planning permit application to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation must be submitted to Council, accompanied by the following information:
- Any requirements as set out in Clause 52.17 (Native vegetation) of the Wellington Planning Scheme, or within any overlay which may govern your property, also found within the Wellington Planning Scheme. The Planning Scheme can be accessed from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
- A biodiversity assessment report which can be obtained from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website, using the Native Vegetation Information Management System.
- A site plan showing the location of the vegetation.
- Current photos of the vegetation to be removed, if appropriate.
More information about native vegetation removal can be found on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website, or by contacting Council’s Environmental Planner by phoning 1300 366 244.
In certain circumstances, vegetation can be removed without a planning permit, for protection from bushfire. Please see the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Advisory Note for details of the exemptions.
If in doubt, please phone Council’s Environmental Planner on 1300 366 244 or see the Planning and Building for Bushfire Protection page on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website for more details.
Firewood may only be collected on your own property for domestic use. A planning permit is required to sell firewood. Council does not currently allow firewood collection on roads managed by Council. Due to Occupational Health and Safety issues, and biodiversity and habitat issues, Council will not be approving permits for roadside collection in the foreseeable future. Firewood can be collected from designated areas of public land, as decided by DELWP at certain times of the year.
More information about firewood collection locations and times is provided by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Firewood Collection or phone them on 136 186.
Vegetation is often destroyed through illegal activities. Planning Enforcement Officers will 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.