Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO)

Some areas in the City of Monash are covered by a Vegetation Protection Overlay to preserve existing vegetation, encourage regeneration of native plants and trees, and to keep and enhance habitat for native animals.

How do I find out if my property is affected?

To see if your property is in an area with a Vegetation Protection Overlay, see the City of Monash Interactive Maps or Vegetation Protection Overlay - Map(PDF, 447KB)

Do I need a planning permit?

If your property is in a protected area, a planning permit is needed to remove or destroy vegetation that is higher than 10m and has a trunk circumference greater than 50cm (16cm diameter) at 120cm above ground level.

Planning permit exemptions

  • Dead vegetation
  • Certain tree species - all types of willows, radiata or monterey pines, evergreen alders, sweet pittosporums and desert ash
  • Vegetation that presents an immediate risk to personal injury or damage to property – but only the part that presents the risk can be removed

Vegetation that meets the above criteria does not require approval from Council for its removal. The onus is on the landowner to keep a record of vegetation that is removed, including supporting evidence that the above criteria have been met. Supporting evidence may include photographs or other written advice from a suitably qualified person.

Confirmation may also be obtained through Council by submitting the Tree Assessment online form

What do I do if I want to remove vegetation?

It is the responsibility of the landowner to ensure a planning permit is applied for and obtained, or that an exemption is met prior to the removal of any vegetation.

Landowners may wish to engage an arborist or other qualified professional to give advice prior to removing trees as illegal tree removal can result in fines and/or legal action. All applications must be accompanied by sufficient justification for vegetation removal and evidence to support the tree removal.

What if I am unsure a planning permit is required to remove vegetation?

Council can provide a FREE arboricultural advice service to residents in affected areas, when there is uncertainty if a planning permit is required, or to seek an exemption. 

This service is available to residents only, and is not for people developing their land for the purpose of more than 1 dwelling.  

To access this service, please fill out this online form:

You will be required to attach a site map indicating location of the tree(s), as well as other relevant information (tree type and height, and trunk diameter at 1.2m above ground). 

Tree Assessment - VPO

How do I apply for a planning permit?

Please note, there is no fee for the tree removal application.

If you want to remove only 1 tree, you can do this online via VicSmart Planning Applications (you can only lodge 1 VicSmart application to remove a tree within 12 months).

Apply to remove 2 or more trees:

Tree Removal Application

When applying, you must include:

  • A current copy of Certificate of Title, including a full copy of any restrictions or covenants.
  • Site plan detailing the location of the vegetation to be removed and details of the species and height of any replacement vegetation. 
  • A statement and any supporting information justifying the vegetation removal – this may include, but is not limited to, an arborist report, photos or other evidence.

Tree removal decision guidelines

All applications made to Council to remove vegetation will be assessed against the relevant State and Local planning policies contained in the Monash Planning Scheme, with particular regard to Council’s Tree Conservation Policy and the Vegetation Protection Overlay.   

The Vegetation Protection Overlay provides a clear objective and decision guidelines for the removal and protection of significant vegetation, to preserve existing trees and enhance the character of neighbourhoods.

In assessing an application Council must consider, as appropriate:

  • The Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework
  • The nature and significance of the vegetation to be protected 
  • Whether provision is made or is to be made to establish and maintain vegetation elsewhere on the land
  • Any other matters specified in the schedule to the Vegetation Protection Overlay, which for Monash are:
    • The reason for removing or destroying the vegetation and the practicality of alternative options which do not require removal or destruction of vegetation
    • The practicality and benefits of relocating significant vegetation
    • The condition and quality of the vegetation  

More Information

Please contact Council on 9518 3555.