Protected vegetation frequently asked questions
What is protected vegetation?
Protected vegetation is identified by Brisbane City Council under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL). This law protects Brisbane’s vegetation and delivers a balance between protecting the city’s environment and people, property and lifestyle. You may require a permit to manage vegetation that is protected under this law.
Find out more information about the protected vegetation categories.
Does my property contain protected vegetation?
Your property may have protected vegetation if it:
- is located near or in the Brisbane River or a waterway corridor
- is located in a bushland area or rural area
- contains large significant trees even in an urban area
- has heritage values.
Can I ask for significant trees to be protected?
You can nominate significant trees to be protected under this local law if the tree or vegetation meets the objectives under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003. Find out more.
Do I have to apply for permission every time I want to carry out work to protected vegetation?
Generally yes, however there are three different types of permits available allowing property owners to manage protected vegetation. There are also a number of exemptions. For more information, view the Applying for a Permit fact sheet.
Do I apply for a permit to remove vegetation before or after I make an application for building a house?
Prior to submitting your building application, you are encouraged to contact Council to discuss all necessary matters in relation to your proposed plans. Once your building approval has been finalised, an application to carry out works on protected vegetation may be submitted for assessment. Find out more.
Do I apply for a permit to remove vegetation before or after submitting a development application?
It is encouraged that you contact Council to discuss your proposed plans prior to submitting your development application. Find out more.
Does making an application guarantee I will receive a permit?
Submitting an application to carry out works on protected vegetation does not necessarily indicate a permit will be issued for the proposed works.
Find out more about how your application is assessed in the Natural Assets Local Law 2003, which can be downloaded from the Queensland Government website.
I wish to trim a tree that is not on my property. What can I do?
If the tree or vegetation is on Council land, such as in a park, you should contact Council to request work.
If the tree or vegetation is a street tree, you can apply for a permit to carry out minor pruning work. Find out more.
If the tree or vegetation is protected and is on a privately owned property you can apply for a permit, but generally the property owner will be required to sign the application. Contact Council for more information.
Will the Local Law stop me from exercising my existing land use rights?
No. The Local Law is not a land use control. However, along with the Brisbane City Plan 2014 it does require landowners to consult with Council to determine what vegetation should be retained during land development.
Does the Local Law prevent me from subdividing my land?
No. The Local Law is not a land use control. However, it does require landowners to consult with Council to adopt a responsible approach in deciding what vegetation will be retained as part of your subdivision.
I have protected vegetation on my property with weeds growing through it. If I am served a notice to clear these weeds, can I clear vegetation from the whole property?
No. A notice requiring the removal of weeds does not allow you to clear other protected vegetation. Seek advice from Council on 07 3403 8888 on the best methods of weed control.
Can I clear any weeds without permission?
Yes. Weeds that are declared pest plants under the Biosecurity Act 2014 or Council's Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area can be removed from an area containing protected vegetation as long as no damage occurs to the protected vegetation or soil profiles and you do not create erosion potential.
Please note, some declared pest plant trees may be protected by the conditions of a development approval, as significant landscape trees under the local law, or by heritage provisions and these species may require permission from Council before undertaking any works.
For more information on weeds, look up our database or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.