There are planning permit exemptions in Victoria's planning schemes so you can manage vegetation (plant growth) around your property for bushfire protection.

Even if you’re exempt, you’ll need to consider the risk of erosion and landslip that can be caused by clearing vegetation.

AN39 cover Often you need a planning permit if you want to remove vegetation from your property. The 10/30 rule and the 10/50 rule are exemptions  that allow you to clear vegetation to help protect your property from bushfires without a planning permit.

The rules only apply to buildings and fences built before certain dates.

For more information and an explanation of the rules see Advisory note 39: Amendment VC83 – Bushfire protection: Vegetation exemptions, November 2011 (PDF, 775.1 KB) or (DOC, 72.0 KB).

Landowners can clear specified widths along fences for bushfire protection.

A maximum combined width of four metres of vegetation can be removed along an existing property boundary fence.

More information about these planning permit exemptions is provided in

Advisory note 39: Amendment VC83 – Bushfire protection: Vegetation exemptions, November 2011 (PDF, 775.1 KB) or (DOC, 72.0 KB).

Vegetation plays an important role in reducing erosion and stabilising soil to minimise the risk of landslip. While you can remove some vegetation around a house for bushfire protection without council approval to create defendable space, you should consider landslip and erosion risk before you do.

Landslip

A landslip can happen when the ground isn’t strong enough to support its own weight, causing a slope to collapse. Land slippage can result in significant damage to buildings and is a risk to life, both on and below the landslip area. The removal of vegetation, particularly deep-rooted, long lasting trees, and plants that have a large root system, can increase landslip risk.

Erosion

Erosion happens when soil is lost through:

  • rain
  • wind
  • the repeated movement of people / animals / vehicles.

In dry periods erosion can cause dust problems. During and after a lot of rain, erosion can lead to blocked drains, damaged pumps and damaged stream systems by clouding the water and smothering habitat. Topsoil lost through erosion reduces soil fertility and makes it difficult for grass or other vegetation to regrow.

Identify landslip and erosion risk

Some areas prone to landslip or erosion are identified in planning schemes by the Erosion Management Overlay. You can check if an Erosion Management Overlay applies to your land by obtaining a Planning Property Report. Not all areas that are prone to landslip or erosion are covered by the Erosion Management Overlay; for more information about the risk in your area contact your local council.

More information

Read more information about landslip and erosion.

Understanding your bushfire risk and about preparing your property for bushfire visit the CFA website or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 240 667.