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

If you are developing land in Surrey, you must meet our requirements for trees and landscaping.

A planner will be assigned when you apply for your development, rezoning or variance permit. Your planner will give you the information you need to start working on those requirements.

These requirements may include the following:

You will need an arborist report if there are trees on or close to your property. The arborist report must inventory and assess all the protected trees on the site. It also needs to include all the trees on nearby private properties and City property.

Nearby trees are any trees that may be impacted by the development activities. This is generally any tree within 4 to 6 metres of the property line. 

A qualified arborist must write the report. 

Report Templates

Your arborist may use these templates to aid in writing their report. 

A landscaping plan is required for the following sites: 

You must submit legible 11" X 17" hard copies and PDF versions to your planner. 

Changes to the Landscape Plan

Once the City approves your project, only minor plant substitutions or planting configurations are allowed. If changes are unavoidable, you must submit them to your planner for approval. You may need a minor or major development permit amendment to get them approved.

The changes need approval before construction begins to avoid added costs and delays to your project. 

The City of Surrey protects sensitive ecosystems on private property. Sensitive ecosystems are areas such as streams, ditches and green infrastructure network areas (GINs). 

City staff will let you know if any of the following applies to your project.

Planting Plans

You will need a planting plan if you are doing any of the following:

  • Restoration of a disturbed area. Note: You may need a development permit if a violation has occurred on the property.
  • As part of a development variance permit (DVP).
  • Managing invasive species on the property.
  • If a qualified environmental professional (QEP) recommends it for a Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA) application.

The QEP you hire will create the planting plan by following SEDPA guidelines. Submit your plan to the City as part of your ecosystem development plan (EDP) report and staff will review it.

Fencing

You will need to provide permanent fencing if you are doing any of the following within 50 metres of a riparian area:

Your QEP and architect/engineer are responsible for coordinating the location of the fence on the final site plans.

More information on development permit areas is available through our Planning Section

A cost estimate must accompany the landscape plan. The standard Surrey cost estimate form should be used. 

City staff will provide you with a list of the fees and securities required for your project.

Tree Cutting Permit Fees

Zoning and the number of lots being created for your project determine your tree cutting permit fees. The fees are set in the Tree Protection Bylaw on pages 15-16. 

Tree cutting permit fees are payable by cash, cheque, debit or credit card. 

Proposed Subdivisions for Single Family Residential Lots

Zone and Lot Size Fees
RF-12, and RF-G, RF-9, RF-12C, RF-13, RF-10, RF-10S, RF-9S, RF-SD and RF-9C Lots smaller than 340 m2 $130.00 per proposed Lot
RF, RF-G Lots greater than or equal to 340 m 2 , RF-SS, R-F(R), R-F(F), R- F(C) $155.00 per proposed Lot
RH, RH-G, R-H(G), RQ, RF-O $187.00 per proposed Lot
RA, RA-G, RC $591.00 per proposed Lot

 

Tree Protection Securities

The City collects a deposit of $3,000 per retained tree to ensure that they are not damaged. Included in the securities are protected onsite trees, shared trees and neighbouring trees.

The City collects a maximum of $15,000 per lot for single family subdivisions. For multi-family, industrial, commercial and institutional sites, the maximum is $150,000.

Tree protection securities are payable by cash, cheque, debit card, credit card or letter of credit.

Landscape Securities

The approved landscaping cost estimate determines the amount of the landscaping securities. The City holds these securities to ensure the landscaping is installed as per the approved plan.

Landscaping securities are payable by cash, cheque, debit card, credit card or letter of credit.

Tree Replacement Securities

The City collects $550 per replacement tree to ensure that the trees are planted. Your approved arborist report will tell you how many trees you are required to replant. If you are unable to plant the required amount of replacement trees, you will need to pay the $550 as cash in lieu. This money is then sent to the Green City Program and is non-refundable. 

All tree fees and securities must be paid before your tree cutting permit or building permit will be issued. 

Sensitive Ecosystem Securities

The City collects securities once it has approved your QEP's final planting plan and permanent fence locations. The City uses the SEDPA cost estimate table to determine the securities. 

The City also collects securities for permanent fencing outside of the streamside protection area (SPA).

If your sensitive ecosystem development permit does not require a tree cutting permit or building permit, outstanding monies must be paid before the development permit is issued.

How to Pay Your Fees & Securities

Cash or Debit Card

Pay in person at City Hall (13450 104 Ave)

Cheque

Mail your cheque payable to the City of Surrey to: 

Trees & Landscape
13450 104 Ave
Surrey, BC  V3T 1V8

You must write the project number or project address in the memo line of the cheque.

Credit Card

Call 604-591-4086. You will need to provide your site address or project number and your name as it is written on your credit card. 

Maximum payment amount is $15,000. Amounts greater than this will need to be paid by cheque.

Letter of Credit

You can pay your refundable securities by letter of credit. Ask your financial institution for information on how to do this.

Letters of credit must include:

  • The project number: Planning project numbers start with 79 and continue in the following format 7900-0000-00.
  • The project address: The project address is the address of the property while going through the development application process.
  • Purpose: Each letter of credit must be for one sole purpose. You cannot combine securities on one letter of credit.

Please see our letter of credit information package and template for more information.

Landscape Securities

When you have finished landscaping you can either book an inspection, or you can have your landscape architect submit a Schedule CL and field report to treebylaw@surrey.ca.

To submit a Schedule CL, your landscape architect must have submitted a Schedule L with the landscape plans during the review process. 

Upon approval, 90% of your deposit will be released. If there are deficiencies, double the cost estimate value of the items will be held back. 90 days after approval, you can book your second inspection for the final 10%.

Tree Protection Securities

Tree securities for existing trees are returned when one of the following conditions have been met:

  • 12 months after a Letter of Acceptance is issued by the City;
  • 2 years after Building Final has been issued; or
  • At the discretion of the General Manager

If retained trees die or decline to the point that they will never fully recover, the $3,000 per tree is forfeited and deposited into the Green City Program.

Tree Replacement Securities

When you have planted your replacement trees, you can book your first inspection. 50% of the replacement tree securities is eligible for release once the first inspection is completed, and your tree is accepted by the inspector.

One year after your first inspection, you will need to book your second inspection. The second 50% of your deposit will be refunded upon successful inspection.

Sensitive Ecosystems 

Your QEP needs to submit monitoring reports confirming that the planting plan or fencing is complete. Monitoring reports must follow the Monitoring Report Terms of Reference document. Once completed, send your monitoring reports to treebylaw@surrey.ca. When your report is approved, the securities are released based on the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: Sensitive ecosystem development permit area (SEDPA) requires a planting plan

Schedule for Security Release: 

  • Year 0: Planting occurs. Monitoring report indicates successful planting / remediation works. No securities are returned at this time.
  • Year 1: Monitoring report received and approved; 10% of securities returned.
  • Year 2: Monitoring report received and approved; 10% of securities returned.
  • Year 3: Monitoring report received and approved; 10% of securities returned.
  • If the QEP deems that the property is now ‘free to grow’ and will not need any more maintenance or monitoring, the City will release the remaining 80%.
  • Year 4: Monitoring report received and approved; 10% of securities returned.
  • Year 5: Final monitoring report received. If there has been successful remediation, the City will release the remaining 60%.

If the remediation has failed, the City will hold the securities and require more monitoring. Once the property is 'free to grow' as per your QEP, the City will release the remaining securities.

Scenario 2: Fencing only

Submit a monitoring report after all the work on the property complete. This report must confirm the following:

  • The fence type and location of the fence is as described in the final environmental development permit (EDP) report.
  • The riparian area was not disturbed during construction activities. 
  • The City will release 100% of securities upon receipt and approval of the above report.

Scenario 3: Fencing and reseeding  

One monitoring report submitted after all works on the property are complete. The monitoring report will need to confirm the following:

  • The fence type and location of fence is as described in the final environmental development permit (EDP) report.
  • The appropriate seed mix was applied to the riparian area. This should be done by taking a photo of the seed mix used and confirm that it was applied at an appropriate density.
  • That no further remediation is required.

Upon receipt and approval of the above report, the City will release 100% of the securities.

Single Family Homes

If you are building a single family home, renovating an existing home, or adding a pool or accessory building, please see our Tree Requirements for Building Sites page.