Electric line clearance and bushfire mitigation
ESV’s line clearance assurance team enables ESV to meet its objectives set out in the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2020.
The purpose of the Electric Line Clearance (ELC) regulations is to prevent vegetation growing too close to electric lines. If it does, this can result in safety risks such as electrocution, fire (including bushfire) and diminished reliability of electricity supply.
Line clearance assurance team:
- evaluate the electric line clearance management plans prepared by major electricity companies, municipal councils and other organisations with ELC responsibilities
- conduct audits to ensure compliance with the Act, the ELC regulations and approved ELC management plans
- present to industry forums to educate and communicate the requirement to comply and to promote the safety objectives of ESV
- provide technical support and advice to stakeholders, and
- assist other government agencies such as CFA, WorkSafe, MFB and Victoria Police, where they require technical expertise in ELC and vegetation management
The Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2020 include the Code of Practice for Electric Line Clearance and:
- prescribe standards and practices to be adopted and observed in tree cutting or removal in the vicinity of electric lines and the keeping of the whole or any part of a tree clear of electric lines
- prescribe management procedures to minimise danger of electric lines causing fire (and bushfire) or electrocution
- other matters with respect to the maintenance of electric lines
- provide for management plans relating to compliance with the Code, and
- provide for other matters authorised under the Act relating to electric line clearance.
These Regulations are made under sections 151, 151A and 157 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998.
Sections 84 and 84A to 84D of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 specify who is responsible for keeping trees clear of electric lines.
Minimum clearance spaces for electric lines
From 27 June 2022, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) can issue infringement notices to persons who fail to comply with their responsibilities for ensuring trees are kept clear from electric lines as required by clause 3(1) of the Code of Practice for Electric Line Clearance.
In regard to public lands, Section 84C specifies that
“a council responsible for the management of public land in an area declared under section 81 is responsible for the keeping of the whole or any part of a tree situated on the land clear of an electric line that is not a private electric line”
Section 81 specifies that:
(1) The Governor in Council, by Order published in the Government Gazette, may declare an area of land in an urban area for the purposes of this Part.
(2) An Order under subsection (1) must contain a description sufficient to identify the land concerned which may include a description by reference to a map held by Energy Safe Victoria.
(3) Energy Safe Victoria must make a copy of any map referred to in an Order under subsection (1) available at its office during business hours for any person to inspect free of charge.
Energy Safe Victoria has identified the following Victorian Government Gazettes in which such Orders in Council were published:
- 88-22 October 1986, pages 4079 – 4082
- 96-12 November 1986, pages 4354 – 4356
- 101-3 December 1986, page 4595
- G1-7 January 1987, page 45
- G 49-14 December 1995, page 3552
To view copies of these gazettes, click here.
Declared area maps
To assist the community, ESV provides access to these maps – Maps of Declared Areas.
Information for home owners on planting trees near powerlines is available from your local electricity distributor.
Additional information relating to electric line clearance is available via the links below.