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Removing Trees and the Need for Arborist Reports

Updated: May 5, 2023

Looking to have a tree on your property removed? There are a raft of reasons to desire the cutting down, pruning or total removal of a tree from your property. These can include:

  • The tree is dying or may already be dead and poses a threat to the safety of people and/or structures on your property or possibly neighbouring properties.

  • It may be diseased and threatens the health of other surrounding trees.

  • The tree may have been planted in a highly inconvenient position and is now imposing on a structure.

  • You may need to clear a space for new renovations.

As legitimate as all these reasons may be, in some cases, the removal of trees may not always be possible. Obviously, trees serve a highly valuable function and are not easily replaced, particularly in the case of certain old and rare species. For this reason, many are protected under strict state and local council laws. These laws, known as TPOs and LEPs (Tree Preservation Orders and Local Environment Plans) give each individual council final say on the removal of a tree. Whilst some trees may not be recognised as significant or protected, allowing you to remove them as you wish, if you are in any doubt, you should absolutely enlist the guidance of professional advice. Failure to do so may result in removing protected trees, which can lead to enormous financial penalties, imposed restrictions on any further clearing or development and the likely damage to your property’s local ecosystem.

This is why you may need an arborist report.

What is an arborist report?

An arborist report is a legal document that will be requested by your local council if you desire to have a protected tree removed from your property. If there are no obvious or legitimate reasons for the tree's removal, such as the tree is dying or posing an immediate safety risk, then the council will enlist an independent arborist to provide an arborist report outlining the condition of the tree and their recommendations regarding it.

In the case of legitimate safety concerns it is unlikely the council will block a tree's removal. However, if the tree is in good health and poses no immediate risk then it is unlikely they will allow its removal.

Arborist reports will also be included as part of any Development Applications (DA) to council to ensure that the ecosystem of a property is maintained to as high a standard as possible.

Who is qualified to provide an arborist report?

Not all arborists are qualified to provide an arborist report. As a minimum, the arborist will be required to provide evidence of an Australian Qualification Framework Level 5 certification, with a Diploma in Aboriculture. Some councils may even require a certain amount of on the job experience for their report to be recognised. When looking for a certified arborist to compile an arborist report, search, ‘consulting arborist’ and add your suburb to source an expert in your area.

Arborist reports may seem like a costly process but the mismanagement of trees under your responsibility can prove far more costly. Always seek out professional advice before acting on any significant tree removal on your property.

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