Arborist Report

Arborist reports may form part of a development application (potentially as part of a landscape plan) and more particularly for in relation to regulated and significant trees. An arborist report will typically provide a specialised analysis on the type of trees impact upon by development and the means by which to minimise this impact. Arborist reports can assist in providing an informed approach to asset management and can often mitigate disputes associated with the assessment of trees and other vegetation on a property.

An arborist report prepared by an appropriately qualified and independent arborist assists in determining a development proposal that will have an impact on trees. It is important to seek comments from appropriately insured, qualified, experienced and independent arborists when assessing a development application or considering a tree damaging activity.

The following areas should be addressed in an arborist report submitted to Council:

  • the methods and techniques used in the site and tree inspection
  • a suitably scaled plan of the site showing the location of all trees on the site, the subject land and the lot boundaries
  • a table showing for each tree surveyed information such as the common and full scientific name, age class, height and condition
  • a comment to the visual notability of the trees and their contribution to the site and character of the locality
  • a summary and/or discussion of other relevant tree and site information such as soil and drainage characteristics, wildlife habitation, root structure and distribution, pests and diseases, and if relevant tree hazard assessment details
  • if required, tree hazard assessments should be conducted and recorded in accordance with industry best practice
  • supporting evidence such as annotated photographs and laboratory results if relevant to the proposed works or to assist in describing tree or site conditions
  • a discussion of all options available, including why they are recommended or not recommended, e.g. can a built structure be relocated, repaired and tree(s) retained
  • a review of the implications of the proposed development on the health and structural condition of trees to be retained
  • a description of the recommended protection measures to be put in place to ensure the protection of trees to be retained, and a description of any proposed method of tree removal
  • a list of recommendations and the reasons for their adoption.

Arborist reports will assist in the assessment of Development Plan provisions pertaining to regulated and significant trees. The Development Regulations define when a Council can require an arborist report to be provided as part of a development application, and when it might be appropriate for Council to seek its own arborist report, see Section 39(3a) and (3b) (links provided below).

It should be noted that in some areas outside the metropolitan area the regulated tree and significant tree provisions under the Development Act may not apply. In these areas the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 may apply.

The Native Vegetation Act 1991 and Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 provide guidelines as to when and how Native Vegetation can be cleared.