Planning Guide: Works near street or park trees

We have prepared this Planning Guide to provide applicants with some key principles for undertaking works near trees located within road reserves and public spaces.

In particular, it outlines minimum distances that need to be maintained between proposed vehicle crossings or buildings and these trees.

We aim to preserve and protect existing trees located in road reserves and public spaces. They play an important role in the amenity of our streets and parks, as well as contributing to local biodiversity. Some new developments have the potential to damage or require the removal of these trees, particularly when new crossovers are proposed.

At the outset of designing a new development, the location of any existing street or park trees near the site need to be considered. They also need to be shown on the plans lodged as part of the planning permit application.

It is important to remember that the removal of our tree assets will not automatically be approved. Many factors inform our decision on whether a street or park tree can be removed. The removal of each tree is assessed on its own merits by ourTree Management Unit.

The Australian Standard AS4970 – 2009 Protection of Trees on Development Sites is a key document to guide our decisions. It requires protection zones be used to safeguard trees during the construction phase. Figure 1 shows indicative protection zones. The table below is as an indicative guide only, however it may assist in the early design phases of the development:

Trunk Diameter - mm
(measured 1.4 metres above ground)

Tree Protection Zone (TPZ)

Structural Root Zone (SRZ)

200 2.4 metres 1.7metres
400 4.8 metres 2.2 metres
600 7.2 metres 2.7 metres
800 9.6 metres 3.0 metres
1000 12 metres 3.4 metres

The Structural Root Zone (SRZ) is a ‘No Go Zone’ and works that encroach into the SRZ will not be allowed. Sometimes we allow works to encroach into the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ), although this is dependent upon site specific factors.

Where trees are proposed to be retained, we must be satisfied that the works proposed will not affect the long term health of the tree. In situations where we do agree to the removal of a tree, the applicant will be responsible for meeting all costs associated with the removal of the tree, offset replanting and the care of the newly planted trees for two years. The number of replacement trees is based on the size, age, and type of tree being removed. We undertake all works or we employ approved contractors to do the work on the applicant’s behalf.

Figure 1: Indicative Tree Protection Zones

Figure 1: Indicative Tree Protection Zones

If you’re not sure whether your proposal will affect a street or park tree, or want to know if we will be likely to approve the removal of a particular tree, contact our Statutory Planning Unit on 03 5272 4456.

This guide is for standard information required for lodgement.

Additional information may be required by the assessing planning officer after lodgement.

Other controls in the planning scheme may affect your proposal. Please check the planning scheme requirements before submitting a planning application by visiting the Planning Permits page on our website or contact our Statutory Planning Unit between 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday on 03 5272 4456 or at our offices at 100 Brougham Street, Geelong.

Page last updated: Monday, 4 November 2019