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Tree Cutting Permits

Tree stump

If your private property tree is protected by the Tree Protection By-law, you must get a Tree Cutting Permit before removing it.

Request permission from the Parks Department for tree cutting on City-owned property at 604-501-5050. City-owned property includes parks, boulevards and greenbelts.

Trying to farm your property? Follow the procedure for the removal of trees for agricultural purposes.

Are you subdividing, rezoning or building a commercial, industrial or multifamily building? Developers have different requirements that homeowners and you'll need to review our development page.

Applying for a Tree Cutting Permit

In order to apply for a tree cutting permit, you will need the following:

  • A completed Tree Cutting Permit Application Form.

    Please note: Application forms need to be signed by the registered owner of the property. If a tree's located on the boundary of your property and your neighbour's property, both owners must give consent by signing the application form.

    Stratas may attach a signed letter from their management company giving a specific person permission to apply for the permit on behalf of the strata.
  • At least three photos of the tree. Photos must be in colour, clear show the specific tree that you wish to remove. Photos should show:
    • The whole tree
    • The defective part
    • The area at distance
  • A printout of the tree location on the City of Surrey online mapping system (COSMOS).
  • Any other documentation that you feel may be relevant. This may include documents such as contractor's invoices, diagnostic forms, etc.  You only require an arborist report if you are applying for 6 or more trees or if it's specifically requested by the Trees and Landscape Section. Arborist reports must be prepared by a Certified Tree Risk Assessor. A list of certified arborists is available.

Applications may be submitted by mail, in person at the Building Services counter at City Hall or by email at treebylaw@surrey.ca . Application forms, photos and documents that are emailed in to the City must be sent as attachments to the email. Photographs of the application form, photos in a drop box format or pasted into the body of the email will not be accepted.

There is no fee for applying for the permit. If the application is approved and you wish to have the permit issued, the tree cutting permit fee is $79 plus $31 per tree being removed. For example, if you were taking out a permit to remove one tree, your permit fee would be $110, for two trees it would be $141. In most instances, replacement trees are required. The Replacement Tree Security is $400 per tree. Payments are accepted by cash, cheque or debit.

Once you've received a Tree Cutting Permit, the Permit is valid for 1 year. You must post the permit in a location visible to the street before and during the tree removal.

Trees that require a cutting permit

You must get a Tree Cutting Permit for

  • All trees that measure at least 30 centimetres diameter at breast height.
  • Trees that were planted as required replacement trees or condition of development trees. For example, trees planted in a strata complex by the developer are protected as they were a requirement of the development permit.
  • The following tree species of any size:
    • Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii)
    • Garry Oak (Quercus garryana)
    • Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nutalii)
    • Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia)
    • Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
    • Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
    • Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
    • Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
    • Monkey Puzzle (Auracaria auracana)

Valid reasons for tree cutting

Reasons for tree removal must match the criteria for tree cutting, outlined in the Tree Protection By-law. These include:

  • A tree is deemed hazardous by the City's ISA certified arborist.
  • A tree is in decline beyond expectation of recovery.
  • A tree interferes with servicing without an alternative.
  • To allow for construction.
  • A tree is within 3 meters of the home's foundation.

Non-valid reasons for removing trees

This tree doesn't match the tree cutting criteria

To protect trees in Surrey, we will not issue tree cutting permits for the following reasons:

  • Needles in gutters
  • Leaf or fruit drop/litter
  • Too much shade
  • Neighbour request for removal
  • Moss growth on roof
  • Driveway and sidewalk damage
  • Fence lifting
  • Root interference to your lawn
  • View improvement

 

Bird Nest Window

Tree removal near an eagle's nest is prohibited during eagles' nesting season, which is generally February 1 to September 31. If there are nests present, tree cutting and land clearing may not occur between April 1 and September 1. These dates may fluctuate from year to year due to seasonal changes. Learn more about birds in Surrey.

Review the British Columbia Ministry of Environment's Best Management Practices Document on raptor conservation in urban and rural development applications.

Provincial or Federal Government statutes or regulations may apply to a property and you must adhere to those regulations regardless of whether the City has issued your tree cutting permit. This includes, but is not limited to, the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the BC Wildlife Act.

Penalties apply if a tree is removed without a valid permit. Contact 604-591-4675 to report any suspicious tree-related activity.

Related Content

Fees and Securities for Development

Learn what payments must be made prior to the issuance of your development permit.

Tree Requirements for Development

Find the tree and landscaping information you need when developing a property in Surrey.