Street tree lights

Brisbane City Council supports the installation of bud lighting in street trees in business centres across the city to create exciting and attractive night-time streetscapes.

Bud lighting is a string of small lights, often referred to as fairy lights. Warm, white light colour that is consistent throughout a business precinct is very effective. Event triggered light colour changes are permitted for events such as Christmas, St Patrick's Day, Easter and Australia Day. Strobing or flashing lighting is not permitted.

It is important that bud lights are extra-low voltage (not exceeding 50V AC or 120 V ripple free DC), and are properly installed and maintained to protect the safety of those installing the lights, the public and the health of our street trees.


Eligible applicants

  1. Individual business owners or tenants can apply to install bud lights in a street tree(s) adjacent to their building.
  2. Incorporated groups, such as local business associations and Chambers of Commerce, can apply to install bud lights to street trees in a precinct.
  3. Unincorporated groups, such as a group of tenants or landlords, can co-ordinate a proposal for a precinct submitted by individual business owners or tenants.

Eligible locations

To enable both individual business owners and groups of businesses to improve their precincts, Council issues permits for bud lighting in street trees in various commercial zones and precincts across Brisbane.

These zones are defined by City Plan 2014 and include:

  • Principal Centre - City Centre (PC1)
  • Principal Centre - Regional Centre (PC2)
  • Major Centre (MC)
  • District Centre – District (DC1)
  • District Centre – Corridor (DC2)
  • Mixed Use - Inner Centre (MU1)
  • Mixed Use - Centre Frame (MU2)
  • Mixed Use - Corridor (MU3).

How to apply

Eligible applicants can apply for a free permit using Council’s online application form.

Ensure that you include the following information with your application:

  • site plan sketch - a simple layout plan showing the location of the trees, footpaths, traffic signals/signage, adjacent buildings and bud lighting wiring (if power is sourced from mains transformed extra low voltage)
  • photo of the tree(s) proposed to be lit
  • certificate of Currency for Public Liability Insurance to the value of $20 million
  • consent from all property owner(s) and occupiers within the proposed permit area (if for a group of businesses).

Applications containing all relevant information will be assessed promptly and approved applicants will be issued a permit, with conditions, for up to five years. Permit holders will be responsible for ensuring compliance with installation requirements and ongoing maintenance of the bud lighting for the duration of the permit.

Street trees are valued Council natural assets and are protected under the Natural Assets Local Law (NALL). Permits for bud lighting are issued under NALL and are subject to terms and conditions to ensure public safety, ongoing maintenance of the lighting and protection of the trees. 

Permit exemptions

Solar powered bud light installations in shrubs and small trees (that are up to two metres tall) do not require a permit from Council. Take care with small scale installations to avoid creating a hazard to people using the footpath. All other solar powered or mains powered extra low voltage LED bud light installations in street trees will require a Council permit.

Unless your tree is protected by NALL or other legislation, no permit is required to install bud lights in trees on private property.

Download a fact sheet

Find out more by downloading fact sheets with information and checklists about applying, installing and maintaining bud lighting in street trees:

Surrender a permit

To surrender a Bud Lighting in Street Trees Permit, complete the Licence or Permit surrender application online form.

More information

For further information, phone Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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