Frequently asked questions

The urban forest is made up of all the trees, shrubs, and other vegetation which grows on public and private land across Bayside. This includes vegetation in our streets, parks, reserves, private gardens, along waterways, main roads, wetlands, along railways, community gardens, green walls, balconies, and roofs.

An Urban Forest Strategy will enable Council to take strategically coordinated actions to achieve a dense, healthy, diverse and resilient urban forest in Bayside.

This will provide a range of benefits for our community including reducing climate change impacts, cooler streets, more habitat for wildlife, filtering air and water pollution, and greater neighbourhood character. Find out more about the benefits of trees.

The implementation of an Urban Forest Strategy will provide the Bayside community with a wide range of benefits. More trees and vegetation will provide habitat for wildlife, filter air pollution, offer greater shading and cooling, wind protection, mental health and wellbeing benefits, and contribute to our neighbourhood character.

The draft Urban Forest Strategy also has actions aimed at helping Bayside residents increase and maintain trees and vegetation on their own property, with the development of support and advisory services about trees, as well as a communications to educate residents on tree maintenance and species selection.

A key objective in the draft Strategy is to enhance Council’s ability to retain existing trees on private property through increased regulation of tree removal. The most effective way of regulating tree removal will be through the Planning Scheme, however it will take resources and time to ensure that any changes to the Scheme are justified, before being tested by an independent Planning Panel.

In the interim, Council will investigate the current Local Law criteria for tree size requirements for tree removal permits to determine whether this should be varied while further planning controls are explored. If the size requirements were amended, it should ensure the assessment of slender trunk trees to increase protection of more diverse species in Bayside. Community views on tree sizes which should be protected through permits for removal are being sought through the online survey.

Planting trees is an effective and simple method of fighting climate change. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing the greenhouse effect.

The urban heat island effect is a phenomena where cities or urban areas are significantly warmer than the surrounding area. This is because the concrete, steel, and glass we use to build our homes, footpaths, roads, and cities absorb and trap heat. This creates an ‘island’ where the average temperature is higher than the surrounds. Trees combat this heating effect by providing shade and releasing water vapour which cools the air.

Council will be using its Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to detect vacant sites in the tree network where new trees can be planted. This will include a range of locations from activity centres to streetscapes to parks.

We encourage you to complete the survey and use our interactive ‘plant a tree’ social map to show us where you’d like to see more trees planted and what types of trees you’d like to see more of.

While the Urban Forest Strategy doesn’t identify specific places that we will plant trees, it outlines how we will do so and the next steps we will take to increase and diversify Bayside’s tree population.

New planting and maintaining existing vegetation on both public and private land will have a role to play in reaching the target of 25% tree canopy coverage by 2030.

A key aspect of a resilient urban forest is a diverse range of species from a range of different families. If a limited number of species are used, the tree population can be very vulnerable in the event of a pest or disease attack. By ensuring a range of species are used, we can minimise the potential of large-scale losses to Bayside’s tree canopy.

Bayside’s public tree population is heavily dominated by trees from the Myrtaceae family (eucalypts etc), which makes up 60% of all street trees and 56% of all park trees. In comparison, the next most common street tree family is the Proteaceae family (10%), followed by the Oleaceae family (6%). The Urban Forest Strategy aims to diversify this mix in order to create a more resilient urban forest.


Figure 1: Street tree diversity

Figure 2: Park tree diversity


When a tree is in poor health it can be a hazard, and may need to be removed. Unhealthy trees are more likely to lose branches or fall over completely, especially in dangerous weather. It is important for Council to monitor its trees and maintain them in a healthy state.

This is also important on private properties. Trees are likely to live longer if they are maintained and cared for properly, and this in turn reduces the likelihood of the tree becoming a hazard.

The draft Urban Forest Strategy aims to ensure that trees are only removed as a last resort.

A tree’s useful life expectancy is the estimated lifespan a tree has before it needs to be removed for safety reasons. There are several factors that determine a tree’s useful life expectancy, such as its age, species, health and location.


Figure 1: Health of Council managed trees in bayside

Figure 2: Maturity of Council managed trees in Bayside

Figure 3: Useful life expectancy of trees in Bayside

Suburb

NULL

1-5 Years

6-10 Years

11-20 Years

20+ Years

Grand Total

BEAUMARIS

1

157

815

4522

3088

8583

BLACK ROCK

72

52

279

3197

499

4099

BRIGHTON

806

196

1152

10313

1725

14192

BRIGHTON EAST

789

196

1052

8758

1426

12221

CHELTENHAM

10

52

165

2972

509

3708

HAMPTON

148

76

670

5168

1058

7120

HAMPTON EAST

66

64

218

2240

353

2941

HIGHETT

29

230

2131

901

3291

SANDRINGHAM

137

56

311

4300

1862

6666

Grand Total

2029

878

4892

43601

11421

62821

The draft Urban Forest Strategy has several actions that focus on trees on private property. Council is proposing to provide support services to help vulnerable residents maintain their trees as well as advisory services to help residents with planting and maintenance guidance. We are also considering strengthening the requirements for tree removal permits, which you can provide feedback on in the online survey.

It is important that Bayside residents can care for trees on their property as this will reduce the risk of the tree dying or becoming a hazard in the future. Council is considering incentives to support the increased planting of canopy trees on private properties and welcomes suggestions through this engagement. Council is also going to create a communications and engagement strategy to help educate residents on a range of tree related topics.

Tree removal on private property is challenging to monitor. While we want to provide assistance to residents that are finding it problematic to maintain their trees on their private property, we also want to make sure that tree removal is a final resort and is only undertaken when completely necessary.

Through the draft Urban Forest Strategy, Council is proposing to strengthen tree removal controls by:

  • Undertaking a review of the types and sizes of vegetation that requires planning permit to be removed (native and exotic)
  • Exploring the extent of the planning controls related to vegetation removal and whether these are meeting their intended purpose.

We are measuring community support for strengthen tree removal controls in the online survey.

In particular, we want to minimise the number of trees and vegetation removed through the redevelopment process and large development proposals, and work with applicants at all stages of the development process to ensure that vegetation is retained wherever possible.

Under the Local Law, if a tree on private property has a single or combined trunk circumference greater than 155cm (measured 1 metre from ground level), a permit is required for removal. Find out more about tree removal and pruning requirements.

Street trees have to be approved for removal under our Street and Park Tree Management Policy.

In the online survey, we want to know what size you think the minimum tree circumference size should be to require a permit to remove, and if you have suggestions for alternative options.

Under the Bayside Planning Scheme, where a tree is native and indigenous within a Vegetation Protection Overlay or a Significant Landscape Overlay, a permit is required for the removal of the tree (applies to Beaumaris and Black Rock only).

If the tree is less than 2 metres in height, and/or the circumference of the trunk of the tree is less than 50cm (measured 1 metre from ground level), a permit is not required for removal.

For larger developments or where redevelopment proposals are being assessed, Council officers can also request a landscaping plan which should be prepared to take into consideration the Bayside Landscaping Guidelines.

The Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) specifically seeks to prevent the loss of native and particularly indigenous vegetation incurred by development and tree removal, as well as retaining the amenity, aesthetic character and habitat value of vegetation within the area and promoting the regeneration and replanting of indigenous species.

Bayside currently has three schedules to the Vegetation Protection Overlay in the Planning Scheme. They are outlined below:

Under VPO1 ‘Coastal Areas’, a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation. An application must include the following information:

  • The extent of native vegetation to be removed, destroyed, or lopped.
  • Details of the impact of the proposed removal, destruction or lopping on soil stability.
  • Details of proposed revegetation, including proposals for ground stabilisation, species to be planted and source of plants.
  • The extent of native vegetation to be removed, destroyed, or lopped.
  • Details of the impact of the proposed removal, destruction or lopping on soil stability.
  • Details of proposed revegetation, including proposals for ground stabilisation, species to be planted and source of plants.
  • The removal, destruction or lopping of vegetation which is less than 2 metres high or has a single trunk circumference of less than 0.5 metre at a height of 1 metre above ground level.
  • The pruning of vegetation to remove that part of any branch which overhangs an existing dwelling or is within 2 metres of an existing dwelling.

Under VPO2 ‘Bushland Areas’, a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation. An application must include the following information:

Under VPO3 ‘Beaumaris and Black Rock Native Vegetation Areas’, a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop any vegetation native to Australia. This does not apply to:

  • The removal, destruction or lopping of vegetation which is less than 2 metres high or has a single trunk circumference of less than 0.5 metre at a height of 1 metre above ground level.
  • The pruning of vegetation to remove that part of any branch which overhangs an existing dwelling or is within 2 metres of an existing dwelling.