Native vegetation

Removal of native vegetation

You may need a planning permit to remove or cut down a tree, shrubs or other vegetation if:

  • the property is covered by a heritage overlay
  • your land is over 4000 square metres in area
  • your land is in an Environmental Significance Overlay
  • any of the landscaping has been identified in a landscape plan approved as part of a planning permit

Failure to comply with regulatory requirements may lead to a fine.

Some tree removal activities are exempt from a planning permit, as per the Table of Exemptions in Clause 52.17 of the Planning Scheme. Check here to see if you need a permit.

Roadside vegetation: Can I or can't I?
Question
Answer
Clear trees in the road reserve? Possibly, always contact us to discuss your proposal. You will need a consent to work in the road reserve. There are some exemptions but most vegetation clearing would also require a planning permit and offsets. Given Council is the responsible authority for most roads, Council would be required to obtain the planning permit and offsets required. Our policy is to retain native vegetation in the roadsides unless it is causing a road safety issue. All roads are regularly inspected for maintenance, including assessment of overhanging trees, but if you think there is a hazard please report it to us.
Can I bulldoze/grade the roadside to remove fire hazards? No. This is a contravention of the native vegetation regulations. Clearing the area will result in loss of habitat, and more weeds. The CFA and the Municipal Fire Management Committee have assessed all roads in the shire and have a plan of roads that require fuel reduction treatment, Fuel reduction in applicable roadsides will be professionally undertaken by the CFA brigades, with the required environmental checks and controls in place.
Plant native vegetation in the road reserve? Probably. We encourage native vegetation appropriate to the area to improve the roadside conservation value. You will need a consent to work in the road reserve so please discuss your proposal with us. Don't plant near power lines or other services. Planting of non-natives is not permitted and may be removed by Council.
Collect firewood from the road reserve?  Probably, but you will need a firewood collection permit.
Tidy up or pick up sticks from the road reserve?  Yes you can but it's best not to - all natural material should stay in the road reserve wherever practicable. It is all part of the habitat and breaks down over time to return organic matter to the soil. Many animals rely on leaf litter, low shrubs and thickets for habitat.

Removing trees in a waterway

The North East Catchment Management Authority is the responsible authority for approving works in waterways, including tree removal on waterways going through private property.

Valuing our roadsides

Vegetation on road reserves is an important part of the environment in Indigo Shire. Roadsides provide pockets of remnant vegetation, a source of indigenous seed stock and corridors between isolated stands of native vegetation, providing wildlife habitat and passage.  

The majority of local roads within Indigo Shire have been assessed for their conservation values in recognition of the importance of such areas for flora and fauna. Each road is rated as high, medium or low according to the following factors:

  • width of the road reserve
  • provision of habitat (trees with hollows, presence of native trees or shrubs, presence of native grasses, leaf litter cover, presence of logs, rocks or crevices as well as low lying areas)
  • amount of natural regeneration
  • how vegetated the area is and if it acts as a wildlife corridor
  • percentage coverage of weeds
  • amount of site disturbance
  • presence of rare or threatened species.

Roadside Conservation Status Map(PDF, 930KB)

Your responsibilities in the roadside

Stock Movement, Grazing and Droving

A Local Law Permit is required for livestock movement, grazing and droving on a roadside. Conditions will apply to graze on medium and high conservation roadsides. Proposals for livestock movement, droving and grazing on roads must be referred to Council Local Laws staff for compliance with Indigo Shire Council Local Law No 4 and to Council’s Environment staff for environmental assessment and recommendations. Site conditions and conservation values  guide recommendations.

Fencing

Consent from Council is required to construct a fence where such works will involve operating within the municipal road reserve.  This is to ensure that care is taken in assessing and managing risks associated with working in the road reserve. 

In some instances, a Planning Permit for native vegetation removal (trees, shrubs and grasses) is also required under the Indigo Planning Scheme, however exemptions do permit a combined maximum width of 4 metres clearing either side of the fence for the construction or maintenance of a fence (refer to Clause 52.17-7 of the planning scheme). Council’s planning staff can determine the need for a Planning Permit as required by the Indigo Planning Scheme. Contact council staff to determine if the exemption applies to your circumstance.  

Harvesting wild flowers, foliage, and seeds

Collection of native plant material on public land (including roadsides) requires permission under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 protected flora regulations. Direct permit enquiries to regional Dept. of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) staff .