Tree Protection

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Tree Permit Activity WebApp

Tree Protection Bylaw 2019 No. 5478, as amended

Tree Protection Bylaw 2019, No. 5478 was adopted by the Township of Langley Council to protect trees, regulate cutting, and outline replanting requirements.

To help ensure tree health and the urban canopy, property owners are required to apply for a permit if they want to cut or remove a tree from their property. Anyone removing or cutting a protected tree without a valid permit may be subject to fines and additional tree replacement requirements.

The removal of protected trees is limited to the following situations:

  • a tree is dead, dying, damaged, diseased, or in decline beyond expectations of recovery;
  • a tree is in imminent failure;
  • a tree has unresolvable conflicts with buildings or utilities;
  • a tree, by virtue of its size and species, is inappropriate for its location;

The Bylaw applies to all trees on private property in the Township, with the following exceptions:

  • Lands within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) or on portions of non-ALR land that is used for farming
  • Private land used for the production or cutting of protected trees under a valid, existing licence for a tree farm, nursery or Christmas trees
  • Land that is the subject of a development application
  • Trees smaller than 20 centimetres diameter at breast height (DBH)
  • Standard trimming or pruning of all trees or hedges no more than 6 metres in height

Permit application overview

  • Where tree removal is required to facilitate a building permit, please download the Tree Cutting/Removal Declaration form and submit as part of your building permit application.  Do not complete a Tree Removal/Cutting application form.  Staff will advise on next steps.
  • Download the Tree Removal/Cutting application form, and submit the completed package, to the Engineering Division, 20338 – 65 Avenue or 4700 – 224 Street, Langley.
  • The non-refundable application fee is $150. 
  • The $150 application fee is not required where the applicant submits documentation prepared by a qualified (TRAQ) tree risk assessor at time of application that confirms the tree is in imminent failure.  The report must fully comply with Township requirements outlined below.
  • An additional fee of $100 per tree proposed to be removed/cut will be collected prior to permit issuance.
  • Replacement tree requirements will be determined through the permit review process.  A $500 security deposit will be collected prior to permit issuance for each tree identified for replacement.
  • Permit requirements include posting of the associated permit tag at the subject property a minimum of 72 hours prior to tree cutting/removal and remain posted during cutting or removal operations.
  • Tree cutting or removal is not permitted between 6:00pm and 8:00am, with the exception of hazardous trees.
  • Nesting birds may impact the ability to remove trees. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure works are compliant with Federal and Provincial Acts with respect to bird nests.
  • Permits are valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue or upon such earlier date as may be specified in the permit.
  • Applications must be supported by an arborist report.

Arborist Report Writing Guidelines

Arborist reports following the Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) model must be completed by TRAQ arborists and submitted with all Tree Cutting applications. TRACE model, and other arborist report formats, are not accepted.

The guidelines below provide an outline of what to include in the report. While requirements below are not comprehensive, failure to include the following information will result in the report being rejected.

The following must be included in the report:

  • Name of company and the risk assessor, including ISA Certification Number
  • An unbiased approach in report writing
  • Location of assignment: Provide the address, parcel ID
  • Date of the assessment
  • Date of the report
  • Table of contents
  • Clear statement of the purpose of the report: details of the assignment, who the report is for, a site overview including site conditions, inventory, and maps
  • Method of assessment: provide technical details of the level and type of assessment and any equipment used
  • Detailed analysis:
    • ISA TRAQ Risk Matrix
    • Table providing description of trees assessed (i.e. the tree inventory table)
    • Appropriate tree identification; scientific name and common name
    • Observations, findings
    • Clear photos that identify the trees and any defects.
    • Include maps
  • Detailed summary and recommendations
    • Actions are recommended/required
    • Provide the overall risk rating (TRAQ), including likelihood of failure, severity of impact and the consequences
    • Provide the time frame when actions need to occur
    • Inspection interval: the time period required for retaining and monitoring trees based on the risk rating given
  • Appendices and limitations

Frequently Asked Questions

Township of Langley Council adopted Tree Protection Bylaw 2019 No. 5478 on July 8, 2019. Taking steps to protect trees in the Township helps ensure we retain our valuable tree canopy. Similarly, undue damage to a tree's roots, bark, or canopy can kill or severely injure the tree. To help ensure tree health and the urban canopy, property owners are required to apply for a Tree Removal/Cutting Permit via the Tree Removal/Cutting application process.

No, land in the ALR is exempt from the Tree Protection Bylaw. If you would like to confirm if your property is located in the Agricultural Land Reserve, search your address in GeoSource

No, removal of standard hedging and shrubbery does not require a permit, unless the hedge is comprised of large conifers or deciduous species 6 metres in height or greater. Call 604-532-7300 to initiate a service request with Urban Forestry staff if you are unsure whether your hedge removal (individual trees or the entire hedge) requires a permit.

If you would like to remove hedging on the boundary of your property, you may wish to double check that it does not reside on your neighbour’s property or on shared land. 

No, standard pruning (select removal of branches to improve the tree’s overall health) does not require a permit. However, cutting or damaging roots of a tree within its drip line, significantly cutting back the top portion of a tree’s branches (i.e., topping), removing the tree’s bark, or denting, gouging, or damaging the trunk of a tree is not allowed. For a full list of restricted activities, check the Tree Protection Bylaw 2019 No. 5478

If your property is stratified, the trees on your property may have been planted as a requirement of development. In these cases, tree removal may not be permitted. To determine if the tree you wish to remove is governed by development guidelines, call Development Services at 604-533-6034.

Additionally, depending on the type of strata, you may have to submit the following:

  • For multi-family stratas, you will need to speak with your Strata Council and receive their approval to remove any trees from your property. Any application for tree removal must be submitted by the Strata Council.
  • For industrial or commercial stratas, or single family bare land stratas, you will need approval from all property owners. This can be achieved by having all owners sign the application form, or having owners authorize the applicant as their agent. If any owners are a numbered company, a corporate company search must also be provided showing authorization to act on behalf of the company as a principle or director.

Development applications are subject to a separate set of tree removal requirements. Lands under a development application (Rezoning, Development Permit, or Subdivision) are exempt from the Tree Protection Bylaw as tree retention/replacement is achieved through the Subdivision & Development Servicing Bylaw. For more information on development applications, visit Development

Property owners cannot request to remove a municipal street tree through the Tree Removal/Cutting process. However, The Township of Langley has a Nuisance Tree policy for concerns regarding municipal street trees affected by insect infestations, diseases, or those causing conflicts or damage to infrastructure. For enquiries regarding nuisance trees on municipal road allowances, please call the Engineering Division at 604-532-7300. 

Only property owners or the owner’s agent can apply for a Tree Removal/Cutting permit. 

If a windstorm or other event severely damages a tree on your private property, please refer to the following guidelines.

  • If you feel the tree is an imminent threat to life or property and requires urgent removal, take pictures of the tree showing its proximity to the threat and call the Engineering Division to report your concern before attempting to remove the tree.
    • During regular business hours, call 604-532-7300.
    • For concerns taking place on an evening or weekend, call the Engineering Division’s after-hours emergency line at 604-543-6722.
  • If the tree is damaged but you feel it is not an urgent threat, do not remove the tree. Email your removal enquiry, with photos and a completed Tree Removal form, to trees@tol.ca. Staff will prioritize your request accordingly.

Please note: removal of all trees, including fallen trees due to weather events, requires a valid Tree Removal permit. Before removing any trees from your property, take photos of the fallen tree and the surroundings. Staff will help you work toward the permit process and document the situation.

Trees near watercourses fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, regardless of size. Township staff can review your request and determine if tree removal is allowed.  Please email cdinfo@tol.ca or call 604-533-6034, where our support team can receive your request and refer it to appropriate staff for review.

Property owners are reminded that no person shall cause, or permit another person to cause, sediment or sediment-laden water to be discharged, either directly or indirectly, into creeks and streams or the Township drainage system.

As outlined in the Tree Protection Bylaw, if your property has a significant slope, you may be required to submit additional reports before the application can be processed. For more information, call the Tree Protection Line at 604-533-6111.

Replacement trees are required to help sustain the Township’s urban forest. You can purchase your replacement tree from a retailer of your choosing, so long as it meets the planting criteria outlined in the permit. View list of acceptable replacement trees.

Tree parts and wood waste can remain on your private property, if desired, otherwise it must be disposed of by chipping, contracting a private hauler, or bringing it to a transfer station. 

Wood waste cannot be placed in the Green Cart or disposed of via municipal curbside collection. Additionally, any burning requires a separate Burning Permit and must follow all requirements as outlined in the permit. Please note, burning is not allowed and permits will not be issued for the urban areas of Aldergrove, Brookswood, Fort Langley, Murrayville, Walnut Grove, and Willoughby, and are restricted to specific times of year. 

Properties with a valid permit to remove or cut trees are required to display a purple permit tag at their property, visible from the roadway. If you cannot see the purple permit tag, you may wish to search the Tree Permit Activity WebApp to see if the property has a valid permit.

 If you feel a tree has been cut without a permit, please visit Bylaws for general information on lodging a complaint. If you are witnessing an active tree removal and have permit concerns, please call the Bylaw office at 604-532-7551 Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, or our after hours line at 604-543-6700 on evenings, weekends, and holidays.

 Note that properties under an active development application are subject to tree protection and replacement requirements of the Subdivision & Development Servicing Bylaw and are exempt from the Tree Protection Bylaw.

The online Tree Permit Activity Map plots data from valid tree removal permits, including approval requirements. A red square on the map indicates an active permit and outlines the removal purpose and issue, start work, and expiry dates. A blue square on the map indicates a completed tree removal.

Data on the map remains live until Township staff complete post-removal inspections. The information is automatically updated on a regular basis.

As an expert on tree cultivation and management, an arborist will be able to help you accurately identify the health of trees on your property, and advise the best course of action. More information on services that arborists provide, criteria for selecting an arborist, and the benefits of hiring a professional are available through the International Society of Arboriculture

Diameter at breast height, or DBH, is the standard for measuring trees. DBH refers to the tree diameter measured at 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) above the ground. Trees less than 20 centimetres DBH are exempt from the Tree Protection Bylaw. If you are unsure of the tree’s DBH, call the Tree Protection Line at 604-533-6111. 

More information

For more information regarding tree protection and the Tree Removal/Cutting application process, call the Tree Protection Line at 604-533-6111 or email trees@tol.ca.