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Tree Removal and Pruning Guidelines in the Mornington Peninsula

Shire of Mornington Peninsula

Tree Removal and Pruning Guidelines in the Mornington Peninsula

The pruning and removal of trees on private properties throughout the Mornington Peninsula is an essential part of preserving the diverse ecosystem and protecting against the threat of bushfires. Across the region’s coast, creeks, hills and plains you can find almost 700 species of indigenous plants. Despite being one of Victoria’s most ecologically diverse municipalities, the environment we see today represents less than 10 percent of the Peninsula’s original native vegetation. 

all trees expertly pruned

Some of the greatest threats to the region’s trees come from disease, age and storm damage. While these natural afflictions are universal, in a community as densely populated as the Mornington Peninsula it is essential to the safety of all residents that these threats are mitigated and prevented as much as possible. In addition to these factors, bushfires and development are central to the need to adhere to local planning schemes to ensure the preservation of significant native and introduced vegetation in conjunction with strict fire safety measures. 

To save you the time and hassle in attempting to navigate the array of council rules, state laws and planning schemes that intersect to regulate the extent of tree pruning and removal that you can carry out on your property, we have put together this article to simplify the process. 

Tree Pruning and Removal Summary

Most trees within the Mornington Peninsula region will need a permit in order to carry out extensive pruning or a complete removal. Whether you need a permit and the council’s evaluation of that application will depend on the relevant planning schemes that are in place, the type of tree and the potential impact on the surrounding environment that will occur as a result of its absence. 

The council website provides examples of the types of reasons for tree works that it considers to be valid. These include trees that have become dangerous, are impacting powerlines or are damaging infrastructure. Reasons it does not consider to be sufficient for removal: 

  • Improving views for private properties
  • Overhanging branches from neighbours
  • Falling leaves
  • Lack of grass growth under tree
  • Minor damage to infrastructure

Pruning Guidelines

Pruning in the Mornington Peninsula area should follow Australian Standard Practices, the details of those standards can be found here. More generally, the council outlines several actions that residents should be taking to maintain their trees to ensure the health and safety of the tree, the ecosystem and the community:

  • Remove structurally unsound limbs
  • Remove dead or diseased material
  • Maintain prescribed clearances from service and traffic thoroughfares
  • Maintain tree form through removal of misshapen limbs
  • Minimise future problems
  • Remove any immediate safety risks to the public

Jim’s Trees always works within Australian Standard Practice of pruning, as well as local and state regulations for treeworks. If you’re unsure of the relevant restrictions on pruning and removals for your property and don’t want to delve into the details of council policies and procedures, contact your local Jim’s for help with the necessary permits and to get work started on your tree now. 

If you want to learn more about the Mornington Peninsula tree regulations and for help finding all the relevant information and application forms, continue to the next section as we head further into the weeds. 

Tree Pruning and Removals: Into the Weeds

Before you begin plans to significantly alter or extract a tree on your private residence, you must first discern which planning schemes are in place over your property. The array of Vegetation Protection Overlays (VPOs), Vegetation Protection Provisions (VPPs) and Local Planning Policies (LPPs) that exist within the Mornington Peninsula can be found on the interactive map of planning schemes provided by the state government here

The intention of these regulations is to protect against work that risks harming the character of an area or causing environmental issues. If your property is outside of all planning schemes and overlay protections, is not a native tree and is not of a size or species to be considered significant, you may be able to begin pruning or removal without a Planning Permit. You are advised to contact your local Jim’s Trees, or the council office, to confirm that you do not need a permit. 

If your tree is native, considered significant or falls within one of the planning schemes, it is likely you require a Planning Permit to carry out treeworks. 

Applications for a Planning Permit form are available on the council website. 

A checklist for the Planning Application is also available and will help you ensure you have the best chances of approval. 

The application for a Planning Permit to remove a single tree costs $195.10 while two or more trees will cost $390.20; more details of the Fee Schedule is available through the link. Completed applications for Planning Permits should be sent to:

Bushfire Exemptions

In order to allow residents to protect their homes and the community against the threat of bushfires, certain exemptions are in place to the Planning Schemes that permit the pruning or removal of trees without a Planning Permit. The Bushfire Protection Exemptions, which can be found here, allow “for the creation of defendable space around buildings used for accommodation.” 

Under bylaw 52.12-1: requirements for a planning permit to prune or remove private trees do not apply within 10 metres of an existing building used for accommodation that was:

  • built pre 10/09/2009; or
  • approved by a permit issued under this scheme before 10/09/2009; or
  • approved by a building permit issued under the Building Act 1993 before 10/09/2009; or
  • built to replace a dwelling or dependent persons unit that was damaged or destroyed by a bushfire that occurred between 01/01/2009 and 31/03/2009 

Under bylaw 52.12-2: requirements for a planning permit to prune or remove private trees do not apply to:

“the removal, destruction or lopping of any vegetation for a combined maximum width of 4 metres either side of an existing fence on a boundary between properties in different ownership that was constructed before 10/09/2009.”

For clarification on council laws, assistance with the application of a Planning Permit, or to begin your next treeworks, contact give us a call or access our 24/7 online portal today. Continue reading for expert insight on the process and expectations of tree removal and pruning in the Morning Peninsula region. 

Arborist Insights

If you’re one of the many people that has become overwhelmed by the various regulations, laws and planning schemes that overlap and intersect to govern what work you can do on your property, then our local specialist has some good news: 

“Oh yeah we can assist. Yeah no problem. Sometimes you get people who can’t speak English or pensioners, we help them along with the council,” says Daryl, who has owned and operated a local Jim’s Trees franchise with his son Jamie for the last few years.

While you will still need to submit applications and forms to the council yourself, our team are happy and trained to give you plenty of guidance along the way: 

“Yep, we can call up the council and help clients fill the forms out, a bit of both. We can help write their residential address and everything else that goes with it – so we help them fill it out and put it to the council,” says Daryl. 

In terms of the expected timeline for getting a tree removed, well that can vary:

“We can even do it the same week depending on the workload we’ve got on. Sometimes we can do it the same week or at worst really the week after.” 

Generally though it’s getting a permit approved from the council that causes the waiting period. In order to reduce that waiting period and to begin the process we recommend that you get in touch with us today so that we can improve the health, safety and beauty of your trees and your property.


Cutting to the Chase

The Mornington Peninsula’s incredible biodiversity is protected by a range of planning schemes that ensure both the native and exotic tree population remains healthy and vibrant. Pruning and removal of sick, damaged or intrusive trees in an important part of this healthy ecosystem. Jim’s always carries out treeworks to the highest local, state and national standards, in line with the community goals for its Urban Forest. This guide to pruning and removal regulations provides a summary of the relevant local and state laws as well as access to further information and forms necessary to carry out treeworks. For more information or to begin pruning or removal of trees on your private property, contact us today

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