Do I need a Permit to Prune / Remove my Tree?

Before conducting any tree pruning or tree removal work you want to check your local council requirements. All councils have slightly different “Tree Preservation Orders” (TPO) and in many cases these are outlined in the councils DCP (Development Control Plan). The purpose of these orders is to ensure that the tree scape in the area is maintained and managed to the benefit of the whole community. Trees on Private Land form part of the tree scape and are included for this reason.  The loss of a large tree or group of trees can have an impact on the tree scape. Not only can it be a loss of a visual amenity but what most people forget is the wildlife that need trees for food, shelter and nesting.

Are there Exemptions?

Each council has a different TPO and a list of what is classed as “exempt works” or “works not requiring consent”. This will typically include any pruning exemptions as well as a list of trees that may be exempt.  Exempt species can typically be removed or pruned without a permit.

In some instances exempt species may have a height restriction. This means if the tree exceeds this height it is no longer exempt and the normal Tree Protection applies.

If you property falls within a designated Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area under the 10/50 Code you may also be entitled to remove/prune trees. This usually relates to properties close to bushland or under potential threat from bush fires. This ruling overrides  Council’s TPO. The Rural Fire Service has an online tool where you can check to see if your property classifies.  The online tool provides you with a Green Tick or Red Cross to indicated if you can apply the exemption to your property.

You can access further information on the 10/50 Code from a previous article on the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code.

Other Things to Consider

Aside from you council TPO (Tree Preservation Order) there are a few other areas you need to check before you prune/remove a tree;

  1. Forms part of a heritage Item or is located within a heritage conservation area
  2. Is listed on the Significant Tree Register
  3. Is located within a conservation area
  4. Is the tree identified as part of an ecological community listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
  5. is the tree an Aboriginal object, or that is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance

What are the fines?

Fines can be substantial for breaches of not only Councils TPO but also if there are breaches under any of the other criteria listed above. It pays to check the council LEP Maps as they will in most cases alert you if there are any other restrictions over your property such as heritage or conservation. Don’t just rely on the compliance under your councils TPO.

We have some of the councils summarised with further information that can be accessed here

If you  have any questions or queries feel free to contact us on 9482 5353

3 Responses

  1. Ray Withnell

    Alex; Terrific initiative for this presentation!
    I will contact you when I consider any of my telephone poles [ errr, Bangalow palms ] get too big for comfort!

    My biggest problem are the weeds [ errr, gum trees ] that are on my southern neighbour’s side. Messy; dangerous [ drop damaging branches regularly ]; periodically smashed my roof tiles in the last 24 years I have been here [with ensuing rain damage]; Fear of injury to my family; and the amount of oxygen they produce, probably is annulled by the poisonous vapor they give off. Our new neighbour wanted to remove 3/4 gum trees to build a car port and granny flat [ council, for various reasons did not pass the DA ]. He asked council if he could sue council for any damage or injury caused by the said trees. The council rep. said no. [ I won’t comment on this ]. The said trees [ trunks; not including the overhang ] are within ten meters of my house.
    I will call you if and when I have need of your services; promise!

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