Development approval for regulated and significant trees
In South Australia, controls are in place to protect Regulated and Significant Trees. These controls are provisioned under The Development Act 1993.
You need development approval to remove or prune regulated and significant trees.
A regulated tree is any tree with a trunk circumference of two or more metres measured at one metre above natural ground level.
For trees with multiple trunks, a regulated tree is one that has:
- a total circumference of two metres or more and
- an average circumference of 625mm or more measured at a point one metre above natural ground level.
A number of tree species are exempt from regulated tree controls due to their location or species.
A significant tree is a regulated tree that has a trunk circumference of three or more metres measured at a point one metre above natural ground level.
For trees with multiple trunks, a significant tree is one that has:
- a total circumference of three or more metres and
- an average circumference of 625mm or more measured at a point one metre above natural ground level
Any activity that damages a regulated or significant tree requires development approval.
Damaging activities include
- killing or destruction
- branch or limb lopping
- ringbarking or topping
- other substantial damage including damage to the root system.
Maintenance pruning is not classed as tree damage. We recommend that you contact us to clarify whether work you have planned qualifies as maintenance pruning.
In an emergency, work involving a regulated or significant tree can be done without development approval. However:
- we must be notified within 48 hours of the work taking place
- the tree owner must lodge a development application with us for retrospective approval as soon as possible after work has been completed.
Penalties apply for any unauthorised activity to both regulated and significant trees. The person(s) undertaking the activity are responsible for the breach.
The maximum penalty is $120,000.
Applying for development approval
When you’re ready to apply for development approval to remove or prune a regulated tree go to the How to apply page for instructions.
Download the Regulated and significant tree checklist for information about what you need to submit with your application.
Find out more about regulated and significant trees on the South Australian Government web site.
Email the City Development Team or call 8416 6333 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.