Trees on private property

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Do you have trees, shrubs or bushland on your property? This is a key part of our urban forest and needs to be nurtured.

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Frequently asked questions

Pruning and removing trees on private property

Tree application

Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

Trees in properties under development

Tree disputes between neighbours

How to find a Consulting Arborist or Tree Contractor

Related documents

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Frequently asked questions

We have compiled a comprehensive list of common queries regarding trees on private land. View the Frequently Asked Questions (pdf. 135KB)  if you require additional information that is not found on this page.

Pruning and removing trees on private property

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 prescribes that tree and vegetation clearing or pruning are to be processed using a permit system administered by Council through its Development Control Plan (DCP).

Part 13-Tree and Vegetation Preservation of the DCP specifies the guidelines for protecting trees and vegetation including when Council permission is required for pruning or removing a tree and when exemptions to Council's DCP apply.

Additionally, threatened species or components of threatened ecological communities are protected under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act (BC Act) and/or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and approval through the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) may be required for pruning or removal of these species or communities.

DCP Part 13 Tree and Vegetation Preservation (pdf. 210KB)

A Tree Application form is required to be completed and submitted to Council for all works on trees or other vegetation where an exemption does not apply.

Tree Application

To obtain Council permission prior to pruning or removing a tree, you will need to submit a Tree Application Form (pdf. 244KB)

A Tree Application Form MUST be submitted for trees growing:

  • On a Heritage Item
  • In a Heritage Conservation Area
  • Where the tree includes threatened species or forms part of an Ecological Endangered Community under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 as no exemptions apply for these properties.

Council will consider your application against the Tree Assessment Guidelines to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property and Council Managed Land (pdf. 102KB)

Council’s Tree Management Policy and Assessment Guidelines require tree work decisions to have a focus on retaining and protecting trees unless there is strong justification for removal. It is important that applicants read the Assessment Guidelines that detail criteria that is not generally considered justification for pruning and removal prior to finalising the decision to lodge a Tree Application Form.

Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) developed the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice to allow landowners in certain areas to undertake vegetation clearing on their own land around residential property and high risk facilities to reduce the risk of bush fire. Within these areas, the Code overrides Council’s DCP (subject to compliance with the RFS 10/50 Code of Practice), however the exemption does not apply to some properties that are mapped within a 10/50 area.

Please note some trees/vegetation are still protected & require a Council permit regardless of the 10/50 vegetation Code of Practice including properties in a Heritage Conservation Area or a Heritage Item or where the tree or vegetation includes threatened species or forms part of an Ecological Endangered Community under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. In these cases, a Tree Application Form is required to be lodged to apply for Council consent to undertake Tree work.

Check the NSW Rural Fire Service website online tool to determine your eligibility

For further information refer to the Rural Fire Service 10/50 Frequently Asked Questions

Trees in properties under development

The Tree Application Form is not the correct process to apply for tree works directly related to Development Applications or Complying Development. Please contact the Customer Service Centre to make an appointment with Council’s Duty Planner. 

Contact us for more information on trees and development

Tree disputes between neighbours

Residents often contact Council to request assistance with concerns with trees located on a neighbouring property. 

Council suggests that you should express your concerns with the tree to your neighbour and request that the property owner take action to mitigate detrimental impacts to your property. The neighbouring property owner is required to get Council's permission before undertaking works on the tree. If the neighbouring property owner does not undertake works on the tree you are advised that Council is not the appropriate authority to resolve this problem and you should seek mediation at a Community Justice Centre. Futher information is available on the Community Justice Centre website.

Should mediation not resolve the your concerns you should seek advice from the Land and Environment Court NSW. 

Legislation titled Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 has been specifically created to enable the Land and Environment Court to adjudicate where a tree on an adjoining land might cause damage or injury to neighbours or to the neighbouring property. However the court cannot make an order unless it is satisfied you have made a reasonable effort to resolve the matter with the owner of the land on which the tree is situated.

Lodging an application to the Land and Environment Court does not require legal representation or a solicitor and the lodgement fee to the Court is minimal. The applicant completes the form and pays the lodgement fee, attaching any supporting documentation including correspondence that demonstrates to the Court the attempts that you have made to contact the neighbouring property owner to discuss the trees to resolve your concerns.

When the Court receives the application, the Court Commissioner will attend the property to inspect the trees and make a judgement.

For information on support that the NSW Land and Environment Court can provide for tree disputes between neighbours refer to the NSW Land and Environment Court website.

How to find a Consulting Arborist or Tree Contractor

If you need advice on your trees, contact a Consulting Arborist that is a member of the Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists (IACA) The consulting arborist will inspect your tree and provide advice on the health of your trees. A consulting arborist can undertake a ground based visual inspection of the tree or use diagnostic testing to provide you with advice or a report detailing management options.

Contact a professional Tree Work Contractor that is a member of the Tree Contractors Association to ensure that you use a professional fully qualified and insured tree contractor to undertake works on your tree.

Before engaging a Tree Contractor to undertake works please read the Advice on Choosing an Arborist (pdf. 30KB) and advice from Safe Work NSW on engaging a professional Tree Contractor (pdf. 266KB)

Related documents

Tree Assessment Guidelines to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property and Council Managed Land (pdf. 102KB)

Tree Application Form (pdf. 244KB)

Urban Forest Policy (pdf. 671KB)

Guidelines for Preparation of Arborist reports (pdf. 305KB)

Tree Replacement Planting Tree Species List - Tree Applications (pdf. 824KB)