You may need approval from us before removing or pruning trees and vegetation on your property.
Over 90% of trees and vegetation on the Gold Coast are on private land. Under our City Plan, we protect trees and vegetation to preserve our city's biodiversity, ecology, character, amenity and history.
The following checklist has been developed based on the vegetation management code to assist you to determine whether your proposed tree removal/pruning requires an application and if so, which type.
Checklist for removal of vegetation on my property
If you are still unsure, please contact the Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708.
When approval is not required
As a guide, you can remove or ‘damage’ (prune) what we call assessable vegetation without a development approval ('accepted development’) when trees or vegetation are:
- along an existing property boundary fence and for the construction of a new boundary fence (distances vary according to lot size)
- close to an existing approved building, for example, a house, shed or garage (distances vary according to lot size)
- within 1.5 metres of an existing pool fence
- native under growth such as native herbs, grasses and small trees (trees less than 4 metres in height or 40 centimetres circumference at 1.4 metres above ground level) under the canopy of taller trees on a lot size less than 1000m2
- a pest species as identified by a Level 3 Arborist. To find a qualified arborist, visit Queensland Arboricultural Association.
- a potential bushfire hazard around an approved dwelling when the location of the vegetation is contained with the City Plan Bushfire Hazard Map and there is no approved bushfire management plan
- actually or potentially dangerous as determined by a Council Level 5 Arborist.
These guidelines apply to trees and vegetation that are not located on land managed by a body corporate or within a community management scheme.
What is assessable vegetation?
Assessable vegetation is protected under the City Plan and is defined as vegetation that is:
- more than 4 metres in height
- the trunk is more than 40 centimetres around the circumference when measured 1.3 metres above the ground
- remnant vegetation or native understorey, as defined on our Vegetation Management Overlay Map or
- part of disturbed or regrowth vegetation or wetland or its understorey, as defined on our Vegetation Management Overlay Map.
If you do not meet the requirements for removing trees and vegetation without a development approval (accepted development), then you will need to lodge a development application for operational works – vegetation clearing.
There are different types of operational works (OPW) – tree and vegetation clearing applications:
Each of these applications requires different fees and supporting information. For information on fees, refer to our Register of fees and charges.
How to apply
For help preparing your application, please refer to Related information. You can also contact the Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708.