Energy Safe Victoria logo

Managing trees near powerlines

Learn about the Regulations that help prevent vegetation growing too close to powerlines.

Overview

Trees and shrubs growing in close proximity to powerlines are a safety risk and can cause fires, blackouts or power surges. All trees must be kept clear of powerlines and any electricity infrastructure.

If trees are touching or in close proximity to powerlines, contact your local council or electricity distribution company to seek advice or hire a tree removal specialist (or arborist) to do the work.

Safety tips for managing trees near powerlines

  • Plant only low-growing species near powerlines – ask your electricity distribution company for a list of suitable species for your area.
  • Only authorised powerline pruning contractors should prune trees touching or in close proximity to power lines – contact the relevant electricity distribution business for more information.
  • Before pruning tree branches or foliage, look around you for overhead powerlines.
  • Pruning should be done before trees and shrubs grow to within one metre in any direction of insulated service lines.
  • Avoid pruning in high winds.

More information

Powerlines and vegetation management

Don’t put your life on the line

Vegetation management

Rules for vegetation management work near overhead electric lines by non-electrical workers

Minimum safe distances are set by regulations:

  • Regulation 614 of the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 sets out minimum distances from electric lines for a person, tool, equipment, vehicles, crane, backhoe, excavators, elevating work platform and other machines.
  • Regulation 616 of the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 sets out minimum distances for vegetation which is to be pruned from electric lines.

However, a person performing vegetation management work is exempted from complying with these minimum regulated distances provided that the person:

  • is completing work for a Responsible Person as defined in Section 84 of the Electricity Safety Act
  • holds a current certificate specifying satisfactory completion of a training course in tree clearing, approved by Energy Safe Victoria and
  • complies with The Blue Book
  • complies with the Vegetation Management Rules.

The Vegetation Management Rules establish minimum standards for safe vegetation management work in the vicinity of, or near, live overhead electric lines. They are additional to other occupational health and safety requirements. They apply to persons working for a Responsible Person who is required by the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2020 to prepare an electric line clearance management plan.

From 16 September 2013, the Vegetation Management Rules and the Training Approval Statement supersede the Guidelines for Tree Clearing Work by Authorised Persons released in June 2011.

More information

Electrical safety rules for vegetation management work near overhead powerlines by non-electrical workers

Powerlines and vegetation management

Don’t Put Your Life On the Line

Date: 02/12/2023 7:48

Controlled document

The currency and accuracy of this document cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the ESV website for the current version.

Reviewed 15 September 2023

Contact us

Line Clearance Assurance team

Was this page helpful?