10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme is an initiative of the NSW State Government and NSW Rural Fire Service which allows (but does not require) owners of land in nominated areas to clear certain vegetation on their property without the need for approval from Council. If you own a property within a vegetation clearing entitlement area you may be permitted to:

  • Clear vegetation (including trees) on your property within 10 metres of a home without seeking Council approval; and
  • Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on your property within 50 metres of a home without seeking Council approval.

Before you clear any vegetation, use this online tool provided by NSW Rural Fire Service to find out if your property is in a Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area and read these frequently asked questions. It is important to note that all clearing under the 10/50 scheme must be carried out in accordance with the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice – clearing that is not expressly permitted by the 10/50 Code may be against the law.

What is not permitted?

Ku-ring-gai contains a number of endangered species and ecological communities protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme does not override Commonwealth law and does not provide approval to harm species or communities protected by Commonwealth law.

The following endangered ecological communities occur in Ku-ring-gai and are protected by the EPBC Act. The 10/50 scheme does not permit clearing within these ecological communities.

  • Blue Gum High Forest
  • Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest
  • Duffys Forest Ecological Community
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest
  • Coastal Upland Swamp
  • Estuarine Saltmarsh

Ku-ring-gai also contains species and vegetation communities listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. While the 10/50 Code does not require you to consider threatened species, populations or ecological communities that would otherwise be protected under NSW laws, these communities significantly add to the ecological, social and historic richness of our LGA and should be preserved where possible.

Read more about vegetation communities listed under state or federal legislation found within Ku-ring-gai.

The 10/50 Code of Practice imposes other conditions including (but not limited to) the following:

  • No clearing of any mangroves or saltmarsh
  • No clearing on neighbouring land, whether privately or publically owned, unless with written consent from the property owner
  • No clearing in areas mapped as containing an Aboriginal place or local heritage items (including heritage trees)
  • No clearing within 10m of a creek, river, lake or other waterbody as specified in the Code
  • No clearing that is inconsistent with Development Consent conditions, a court order or other legal instrument as specified in the Code
  • Clearing must not result in disturbance of the soil:
    • All topsoil must remain on the surface
    • Vegetation must not be removed below the soil surface
    • A protective ground cover (e.g. grass) must be retained 
    • Bulldozers, excavators, tractors or other machinery designed to break the soil surface may not be used
  • No removal of trees (or pruning more than 25% of the canopy) on slopes greater than 18 degrees
  • Landowners have a duty of care to manage erosion and to avoid harm to native, introduced or domestic animals. Landowners clearing vegetation under the 10/50 Code of Practice are not exempt from prosecution for harm to protected fauna or deliberate cruelty to animals, nor are they exempt from liability for erosion or landslip issues which may occur on neighbouring land as a result of clearing

Further information

For any inquiries regarding the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme or the mapping of Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Areas please contact NSW Rural Fire Service.