Topics > Native vegetation > Clearing Native Vegetation

Safety of people and property

Can I clear native vegetation for the safety of people and property?

For private landholders, you can apply to clear vegetation of a plant greater than 2 metres in height (or limbs) for the purpose of removing risk to the safety of people or property.

For Local Councils that need to manage trees on council owned and managed land that have safety issues or require pruning to maintain their health and longevity, the Native Vegetation Council have developed the Local Government Tree Management Guidelines to assist Local Councils in particular circumstances.

Fact sheets for the Guidelines have also been created: Trees that pose a Hazard and Pruning for tree health, structure and longevity . Any clearance outside of the parameters stated in the Guidelines, will need to follow the process below.

Does this include land under Heritage or Management Agreement?

Yes you can clear for this purpose on Heritage Agreement or Management Agreement land.

Do I need approval?

Yes you need to get a plant health expert report approved by the Native Vegetation Council (NVC) prior to any clearance.

What can I clear?

  • Vegetation proposed for clearance must be greater than 2 metres in height and posing danger to people that would result in injury or damage to property due to unstable limbs as a result of weakness, disease, wind damage or other causes.

  • Clearance is limited to removing the limb or other part of the plant causing the safety risk and only to destroying the plant if there is no other option to remove the danger.

  • It must not be reasonably practicable to avoid the risk by avoiding the vicinity in which the plant is growing or is situated.

What do I have to do?

  • Self-assess that your clearing is within the parameters of this activity.

  • Engage a plant health expert to undertake a written assessment report prior to clearing. Plant health expert means a person holding a Certificate V in Horticulture (Arbor-culture) or a comparable or higher qualification. A list of Arborists that are trained to undertaken a plant health assessment can be found on the Accredited Consultants page.

  • Submit the assessment report of plant health to the Native Vegetation Council (NVC), via (unless it is an emergency situation).


  • You may clear only if it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the risk by avoiding the vicinity in which the tree or plant is growing or situated.

  • The complete removal of trees for which the safety concern relates to only part/s of the tree/s is not permitted.

Are you in the River Murray Floodplain Area?

The following regulations may also apply if you live in the River Murray Floodplain Area:

  • Clearing vegetation within 10 metres of an existing building; there are restrictions to clearance of limbs in the River Murray Floodplain Area (River Murray Protection Area) – refer to information about clearing vegetation around an existing building or dwelling.

  • Clearing large trees within 20 metres of a dwelling; there are no restrictions in the River Murray Floodplain Area but CFS approval is required – refer to information about fire hazard reduction.

  • Clearing whole trees is permitted in the River Murray Floodplain Area subject to an arborist report being approved by the NVC.


You are not permitted to clear under this activity if you are clearing vegetation on public land including on a roadside, rail corridor or railway crossing.

What if my activity doesn't fit this description?

If your proposed clearance does not meet the requirements of this regulation, or another regulation, you can submit a clearance application under Section 28 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991.


Native Vegetation Branch.