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Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines in the Brisbane City Council

Before you undertake any significant work on your private trees within the Brisbane City Council region, you may need to apply for a permit from the Council. These permits are a form of local tree protections that are intended to preserve the urban forest and protect trees of significant value to the community. 

While these protections are designed by the Council, violating these laws can result in heavy fines and potential legal action. For this reason it is important to understand the laws that are relevant to you and how to carry out work that is in line with the local tree protections. 

In this guide we will cover all of the important elements of the Brisbane City Council tree regulations. This includes understanding when you need a permit, which exemptions might exclude you from needing a permit and how to apply for one. 

Protected Vegetation – Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL)

The Brisbane City Council identifies trees that are to be preserved through their Protected Vegetation law, sometimes referred to as ‘NALL’ (Natural Assets Local Law 2003). All vegetation that is protected under this law falls into one of four categories:

  1. Council Vegetation
  2. Waterway and Wetland Vegetation
  3. Significant Urban Vegetation 
  4. Significant Native Vegetation

Council Vegetation

This is any vegetation that is on land owned by the council. This includes street trees and trees in public areas like parks. All Council vegetation is protected under NALL and cannot be pruned or removed without a permit and permission from the council. 

Jim's Trees Arborists in action

Waterway and Wetland Vegetation

All vegetation in areas mapped as waterways and wetlands is considered protected vegetation under this law. This vegetation is considered vital to the ecosystem and will almost always require a permit to prune or remove. 

Significant Urban Vegetation

This category protects trees that are native or exotic, on private property and generally mature and important to the landscape, history or culture of the area. Some trees in this category will be given the specific identification of ‘significant landscape trees’. These have specific permit requirements listed on the council website. 

Significant Native Vegetation

Areas mapped by the council as Significant Native Vegetation protects all native vegetation within that zone under NALL. As many native species are unique to ecosystems in Australia, the protection of these types of vegetation are important for the survival of both native flora and fauna. Pruning or removing significant native vegetation always requires a permit from the council to carry out. 

Permit Exemptions

If you wish to undertake work on a tree on your property that is protected under NALL, you will need to apply for a permit. To find out if your trees are protected under this law, you can

request a map and report online from the Council or speak with them directly on 07 3403 8888.

If your tree is identified as protected vegetation, you will need a permit to prune or remove that tree unless you meet the criteria for an exemption. 

Exemptions to not apply to significant landscape trees or those protected by other legislation that include:

  • heritage trees
  • tidal vegetation (primarily mangroves)
  • development approvals or covenants
  • vegetation identified by the Queensland Government as a ‘regional ecosystem’

For a full list of exemptions, check out the council’s ‘Do I need a permit document’. 

Applying for a Permit

Types of Permits

Trees that are protected by NALL and do not meet the conditions for an exemption will require a permit from the council to prune or remove them on your property. There are three types of permit you can apply for:

  1. Short term work
    1. Appropriate for single jobs that may affect protected vegetation. Generally applicable to the pruning or removal of a single tree. 
  2. Long term work
    1. Used for the permission of work that will be long-term or ongoing. This could involve routine maintenance or hazard management. These are valid for up to 10 years and require a protected vegetation management plan with the application.
  3. Council street trees
    1. To carry out minor pruning on council street trees you will need to apply for this type of permit. 

How to Apply

To determine which type of permit is most applicable to your situation, visit the council’s permit fact sheet for detailed information on the different types of permits. 

Once you have identified the right permit for you, complete an online application or a hard copy form

If your application is successful, you will need to complete a declaration of compliance for approved works to protected vegetation online. This can also be completed as a hard copy

City of Brisbane Suburbs

The Brisbane City Council’s jurisdiction includes 190 mainland suburbs, additional islands and localities in Moreton Bay.

  • Acacia Ridge
  • Albion
  • Alderley
  • Algester
  • Annerley
  • Anstead
  • Archerfield
  • Ascot
  • Ashgrove
  • Aspley
  • Auchenflower
  • Bald Hills
  • Balmoral
  • Banks Creek
  • Banyo
  • Bardon
  • Bellbowrie
  • Belmont
  • Boondall
  • Bowen Hills
  • Bracken Ridge
  • Bridgeman Downs
  • Brighton
  • Brisbane
  • Brisbane Airport
  • Brookfield
  • Bulimba
  • Bulwer
  • Burbank
  • Calamvale
  • Camp Hill
  • Cannon Hill
  • Carina
  • Carina Heights
  • Carindale
  • Carseldine
  • Chandler
  • Chapel Hill
  • Chelmer
  • Chermside
  • Chermside West
  • Chuwar
  • Clayfield
  • Coopers Plains
  • Coorparoo
  • Corinda
  • Cowan Cowan
  • Darra
  • Deagon
  • Doolandella
  • Drewvale
  • Durack
  • Dutton Park
  • Eagle Farm
  • East Brisbane
  • Eight Mile Plains
  • Ellen Grove
  • England Creek
  • Enoggera
  • Enoggera Reservoir
  • Everton Park
  • Fairfield
  • Ferny Grove
  • Fig Tree Pocket
  • Fitzgibbon
  • Forest Lake
  • Fortitude Valley
  • Gaythorne
  • Geebung
  • Gordon Park
  • Graceville
  • Grange
  • Greenslopes
  • Gumdale
  • Hamilton
  • Hawthorne
  • Heathwood
  • Hemmant
  • Hendra
  • Herston
  • Highgate Hill
  • Holland Park
  • Holland Park West
  • Inala
  • Indooroopilly
  • Jamboree Heights
  • Jindalee
  • Kangaroo Point
  • Karana Downs
  • Karawatha
  • Kedron
  • Kelvin Grove
  • Kenmore
  • Kenmore Hills
  • Keperra
  • Kholo
  • Kooringal
  • Kuraby
  • Lake Manchester
  • Larapinta
  • Lota
  • Lutwyche
  • Lytton
  • MacGregor
  • Mackenzie
  • Manly
  • Manly West
  • Mansfield
  • McDowall
  • Middle Park
  • Milton
  • Mitchelton
  • Moggill
  • Moorooka
  • Moreton Bay
  • Moreton Island
  • Moreton Island
  • Morningside
  • Mount Coot-tha
  • Mount Crosby
  • Mount Gravatt
  • Mount Gravatt East
  • Mount Ommaney
  • Murarrie
  • Myrtletown
  • Nathan
  • New Farm
  • Newmarket
  • Newstead
  • Norman Park
  • Northgate
  • Nudgee
  • Nudgee Beach
  • Nundah
  • Oxley
  • Paddington
  • Pallara
  • Parkinson
  • Petrie Terrace
  • Pinjarra Hills
  • Pinkenba
  • Port of Brisbane
  • Pullenvale
  • Ransome
  • Red Hill
  • Richlands
  • Riverhills
  • Robertson
  • Rochedale
  • Rocklea
  • Runcorn
  • Salisbury
  • Sandgate
  • Seven Hills
  • Seventeen Mile Rocks
  • Sherwood
  • Shorncliffe
  • Sinnamon Park
  • Sinnamon Park
  • South Brisbane
  • Spring Hill
  • Stafford
  • Stafford Heights
  • St Lucia
  • Stretton
  • Sumner
  • Sunnybank
  • Sunnybank Hills
  • Taigum
  • Taringa
  • Tarragindi
  • Teneriffe
  • Tennyson
  • The Gap
  • Tingalpa
  • Toowong
  • Upper Brookfield
  • Upper Kedron
  • Upper Mount Gravatt
  • Virginia
  • Wacol
  • Wakerley
  • Wavell Heights
  • West End
  • Westlake
  • Willawong
  • Wilston
  • Windsor
  • Wishart
  • Woolloongabba
  • Wooloowin
  • Wynnum
  • Wynnum West
  • Yeerongpilly
  • Yeronga
  • Zillmere

fallen trees removed

Cut to the Chase

In this article we have covered everything you need to know before you start work on your private trees in the Brisbane City Council. Trees that are considered protected vegetation are covered by the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL). Unless you meet the requirements for an exemption, you will need to apply for a permit in order to prune or remove trees under these protections. 

To determine whether you need an application, contact your council or a Jim’s specialist on 131 546.