The city council of Ipswich has put in place provisions that guide property owners on the removal of trees from their premises. To help you stay on the right side of the law, our team has put together this detailed article. 

Remember, ignorance of the law is no defence. Have a read to understand what the council expects of you.

Do you really need a council permit?

As a property owner, you can remove a tree from your premises without the approval of the Ipswich city council. Certain conditions have to be met for this to be the case. They include: 

  • If the tree is dead 
  • If the tree is located within 10 metres of a dwelling 
  • If the tree is located within 3 metres of an approved structure, i.e. pools, sheds, and granny flats. 
  • If it is deemed necessary to remove a tree for the construction of a boundary fence or fire break. 

If the trees that you plan to remove are protected by a VPO, TPO, or covenant/ condition of development approval, you will need to apply to the council and get a permit. More on this later.

Application for a tree removal permit

Similar to other public inquiries and permits, one can be able to apply for a tree permit online. You will be asked to input your parcel number and also the reason why you want to pull down the tree. During the application, you can also perform a general inquiry to know whether there are any council works on your property that may hinder the application for a tree removal permit. 

Before application, we recommend that you read and understand the disclaimer, conditions, and privacy notice as provided by the Ipswich City Council. 

If you are looking to apply for a tree permit, you can find the downloadable form here.

Vegetation Protection Order

As provided above, you might be barred from bring down a tree if the tree is protected by a vegetation protection order, VPO. What exactly is a VPO?

Under Ipswich Local Law Number 49, the council will protect a tree (s) or a wooded area of significant ecological, historical, or cultural value. This is known as a VPO. The VPO doesn’t restrict the use of the trees; however, it offers advice and in some unique circumstances, creates a management plan that will guide the owner on its use. 

A VPO can apply either to a single tree, a cluster, or a wooded area. 

Wondering what is the criteria for a tree(s) to be protected under a VPO? Here are some of the guidelines provided by the Ipswich City Council: 

  • The tree is a valuable part of the area’s natural heritage; either in age or is of a native species to Ipswich 
  • The tree is a threatened species as provided under the Nature Conservation Act, Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, or Vegetation Management Act
  • The tree or cluster of trees has horticultural value 
  • The trees are of cultural/ historic significance to Aboriginal community, early settlers, an institution, or associated with the early settler. 
  • A tree or wooded area that provides natural habitat for migratory or native animals
  • The trees are part of a water catchment area

As you might have figured out from the requirements provided above, a person or entity who is not the owner of a property can apply for a VPO to be placed on a tree or a cluster of trees in Ipswich. The council will request that the owner of the property consent to the VPO. However, if the applicant provides a good argument a VPO can be placed without their consent.

What about conservation areas?

You might be planning to carry out tree work on a conservation area. What are the provisions for such an exercise?

Most conservation areas are protected by a Tree Preservation Order. You will be required to apply and obtain a permit from the council for such works. In addition, you will be required to notify the authorities 6 weeks prior to the implementation of any tree work.


Hope our detailed article was of help to you. You might feel overwhelmed with the city council provisions. You should know that you are not the only Ipswich proprietor or business owner who feels that way. A reliable solution is to rely on an experienced and reputable tree service company in the region. 

Get in touch with us today and request for a tree removal service. Our experts are willing to come to your property and conduct an analysis.

More information

Are you considering some earthworks or clearing vegetation on your property? Contact the Planning and Regulatory Services Department on (07) 3810 6666 for guidance and advice on approval requirements specific to your property.

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