Tree Permits

Below is the summary of everything you’ll need to know to apply for a tree permit. However, we encourage you to carefully read and familiarize yourself with the Tree Bylaw. This information is intended to be a helpful reference that can point you to specific portions of the bylaw for a complete description of terms and conditions.

    • New Westminster's urban forest is declining at a rate of 1.5% per year
    • The majority of this loss is occurring on private land
    • The Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw No. 7799, 2016 was adopted to preserve trees on both private and public property and to assist in growing the city's urban forest

    For more information:

    Urban Forest Management Strategy

  • A permit is required to remove or cut a protected tree. Protected trees include the following:

    • Trees with a diameter of ≥ 20cm when measured at 1.3m (4' 3") above grade
    • Trees with more than one stem, the combined diameter of its two largest trunks or stems is ≥ 20cm
    • Trees with evidence of nesting birds
    • Trees that do not meet the size requirements but were a condition of a plan or permit approval
    • Trees that form a hedge that is ≥ 5m in height
    • Trees/shrubs of any size on all City-owned or occupied lands

    How to measure your tree(s):

    1. Measure diameter at 1.3m (4' 3") above grade*
    2. The circumference can then be divided by 3.1416 to obtain the diameter
    3. With a multi-stem tree, measure diameter of the two largest stems then add them together

    *If you do not have a diameter tape, you can determine the diameter of a tree by measuring the circumference of a tree trunk, at 1.3m above ground level, with a regular measuring tape (like measuring your waist size)

  • A tree permit is required for most construction type activity that takes place on private property. This includes but isn’t limited to: demolition, building, interior renovations, drain tile or service repairs, oil tank removals, landscaping, irrigation installation, construction of accessory buildings, laneway and carriage homes, etc. A tree protection permit ensures any off-site trees not impacted by construction activities in their critical root zone. Even if there aren't any trees on your property you still need a No Tree Permit as it is the first step to obtaining other development services permits. A No Tree Permit is generally processed within 3-5 business days.

    A permit is not required for pruning of a protected tree so long as pruning is carried out in accordance with sound arboricultural practice and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 and the latest edition of the companion publication “Best Management Practices – Tree Pruning”, published by the International Society of Arboriculture.

    Pruning shall not include:

    1. Crown raising to the extent that the live crown ratio is less than 50%
    2. Removal of more than 25% of the crown in a single season
    3. Topping
    4. Pruning or removal of a structural root within the critical root zone of a protected tree



  • A Project Arborist is an ISA Certified Arborist who is hired by the applicant. The tree care professional is independent from the City and provides an unbiased perspective on tree health and management of your property throughout the project.

    Bylaw required Project Arborist to prepare:

    • tree removal reports
    • tree inventory reports
    • tree health care plans
    • replacement tree plans
    • tree protection fencing reports
    • onsite to supervise all work within critical root zone.

    An arborist report is required for any tree removal application and for all major development projects. This includes demolition and rebuild of any single family home or commercial property, all pre-application reviews, development permits, laneway and carriage house applications or any other major project with construction occurring within 4m of any protected tree's critical root zone (DBHx6).

    For tree removals an arborist report is needed if there are concerns about root encroachment, decay, disease, structural weaknesses, etc. If the tree is a standing dead tree then no report is need. In those cases we accept printed colour photos with application.

    Arborist Report Requirements

  • 1) To apply for a tree removal permit, please visit the Planning Department at City Hall (Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm). See each permits requirements before applying to ensure you have all documents. Only complete applications will be accepted for review.

    Tree removal applications have a $75 application fee. Protection and No Tree Permits do not.

    2) The application is submitted for review. Applications are reviewed based on application date not scope or value of project. The time it takes to review then approve a tree permit varies greatly. It can depend on  time of year, complexity of current projects and complexity of your project as well as staffing levels.

    3) City Arborist conducts site visits to confirm all information supplied in the application. They will be in contact with applicant if they have any further questions or need supporting documents.

    4) Application approved or rejected

    5) Removal approval:

    a) Replacement plan must be in place

    b) Authorized Agent or Homeowner must come to City Hall to pay fees and securities as well as sign permit and conditions

    c) Replacement trees must be planted within 6 months of permit issuance. If project is a new home, final occupancy permit will not be issued until replacement trees are planted and approved.

    d) No less than 1 replacement tree shall be planted on the same lot as the trees that are cut or removed. If the lot cannot accommodate some or all of the required replacement trees, the city will accept cash-in-lieu of payment.

    e) Project Arborist must approved replacement tree plants and submit a memo/report including photos, location, and species to

    f) Replacement tree securities are refunded after the replacement trees have been maintained for one year.

    6) Protection Approval:

    a) Project Arborist must approve tree protection barriers then submit at corresponding memo/report to

    b) Authorized Agent or Homeowner must come to City Hall to pay and sign permit and conditions.

    c) Tree Protection Barriers must remain in place in accordance with bylaw until City Arborist gives final approval. Only after this may the fences come down.

    d) If work needs to be done inside the tree protection barrier Project Arborist must be on site to supervise work.

    e) Project Arborist to inspect any retained trees once the project is complete then submit a memo/report to

    f) Retained tree securities are refunded after the owner has received the final building permit.

    7) No Tree Applications:

    a) City Arborist to review application

    b) Sometimes a site visit is required

    c) Once no impact of trees has been determined you will be notified via email or phone to come to City Hall to pick up and sign permit.

    For more information about the Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw or if you would like to report an illegal tree removal in progress, please email or call 604-636-4318.