Tree Protection Law Changes in the ACT


On 1 January 2024 the Urban Forest Act 2023 (ACT) (the Act) replaces the Tree Protection Act 2005 (ACT), bringing in a number of legislative changes to support sustainable urban forests in the ACT. An urban forest refers to trees located on land in existing built-up and future urban areas.
The Act seeks to contribute to community wellbeing in a changing climate, and recognize and protect the value, including cultural and heritage value, of the ACT’s urban forest. The new legislation will complement the ACT Urban Forest Strategy, and strengthen and improve how the ACT Government manages and protects trees.

From 1 January 2024, the definition of a protected tree is expanding and will include a registered tree, a regulated tree, a public tree, or a registered or remnant/native tree in future urban areas.
Trees on private land may be protected under the Act as a ‘regulated’ or ‘registered’ tree. A regulated tree on private land is a tree that is 8 metres or more in height or in canopy width and has a circumference of 1 metre or more.

A tree on private land is not a regulated tree if it is dead and not a native species, or a recognised noxious or environmental weed. Registered trees are those of exceptional value on either private or public land. All trees on public land will be protected, regardless of their size or location.
Protected trees have a designated Tree Protection Zone, the area under the canopy and surrounding the trunk.

Approvals are required before being permitted to undertake activities such as removal, pruning, lopping, or groundwork activities within the Tree Protection Zone. Approval is not required if a tree is not classified as a protected tree.
Apply for approval through the tree activity application.
The ACT Government is also building a new IT system to implement the reforms.

For more information visit Trees on private land – City Services (
For advice on how these changes could affect your organisation, please contact us at

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