Trees on my Property

Trees and native plants are a beautiful and integral piece of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s local character. To ensure that they are protected on private properties the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme contains a Tree Preservation and Planting Clause.

Under the Scheme, any tree or native plant over a prescribed height or width is protected from removal or significant damage. If you wish to remove any trees or native vegetation over the prescribed requirements, you are required to apply for approval from the Shire through a Development Application. Failure to do so may result in compliance action.

View the Scheme text or maps.

Objectives of the Tree Preservation and Planting Clause

The objectives of the clause are to preserve the landscape attributes within the Shire and to protect significant and sensitive areas from the negative effects of clearing. This enhances the amenity, convenience and natural beauty by facilitating:

  • reduction in soil salinity
  • prevention of erosion
  • provision of habitats for native fauna
  • provision for aesthetic pleasure and
  • retention of the landscape quality

The Shire achieves these objectives by monitoring and controlling the removal or destruction of or damage to trees.

Prescribed requirements for tree preservation

Prescribed requirements for tree preservation on private property are as follows:

No person shall remove, destroy or damage any tree or native vegetation, or cause or suffer to permit the removal or destruction of or damage to any tree within the District having at least one well defined stem or trunk of a height greater than 4 metres or diameter greater than 150mm measured at a height of 1.2 metres above the natural ground level, except with the prior planning consent of the Council given on an application, or unless the tree is exempt.

Exemptions from tree preservation

Council’s planning consent is not required for the removal of trees or naturally growing vegetation in the following cases:

  • any tree or other vegetation that has a height of less than 4 meters and/or trunk diameter less than 150mm measured at a height of 1.2 meters above natural ground level;
  • any tree which constitutes an immediate threat to life or property, the proof of which threat lies upon the person who removes, destroys, or damages the tree;
  • any tree within:
    • three meters of any buildings;
    • a building envelope defined or accepted by the Council;
    • the perimeter line of a proposed building for which a building license has been issued;
    • a firebreak required by a Regulation or By-law;
    • a one meter wide corridor for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a fence;
    • the area required for the construction of an effluent disposal system approved by Council; and
    • a vehicle access to a property.
  • any tree having branches directly overhanging the roof of any building, but in that case the exemption applies only to the lopping of an overhanging branch;
  • any tree within 2 metres of a sewer, water-main, effluent disposal system, stormwater or power network, where the tree has caused damage of blockage to the installation or equipment in question, proof of which damage lies upon the person removing, destroying or damaging the tree;
  • trees grown for commercial purposes;
  • where the removal, cutting down, destruction or damaging of the trees or naturally growing vegetation must necessarily be carried out to comply with conditions of subdivision approval;

State Environmental Clearing Regulations

It is important to remember that the Tree Preservation and Planting Clause in our Town Planning Scheme does not negate the need for you to consider relevant state government clearing legislation.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) administers the clearing provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Clearing native vegetation is an offence, unless done under a clearing permit or the clearing is for an exempt purpose.

There are two types of exemptions:

  1. Exemptions for clearing (that are a requirement of a written law or authorised under certain statutory processes) are listed in Schedule 6 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
  2. Exemptions for prescribed activities are listed in the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004, but do not apply in environmentally sensitive areas declared by the Minister.

Find out more about DWER Clearing Permits

Frequently asked questions

I've got State approval, do I still need Shire approval?

Yes, one legal requirement does not negate the other.

Related links

Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale Town Planning Scheme No 2

How to lodge a development application

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Native Vegetation Clearing Fact Sheet

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Clearing Permits

Environmental Protection Act 1986

Further information and contact

For further information, please contact us.