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Tree removal on Private Property

State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP)

On 25 August 2017, State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP) introduced new statewide controls for the clearing of trees and other vegetation. The Vegetation SEPP specifies when approval is required to clear vegetation and how an approval can be obtained.

The Vegetation SEPP defines the clearing of vegetation to include:

  1. cut down, fell, uproot, kill, poison, ringbark, burn or otherwise destroy the vegetation
  2. lop or otherwise remove a substantial part of the vegetation.

When approval for tree removal or clearing of vegetation is required:

  • Council can only grant approval for:
    • non-native vegetation
    • for native vegetation where the tree removal or clearing of vegetation is below the ‘biodiversity offsets scheme threshold’ under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
  • If the tree removal or clearing of vegetation involves native vegetation and the clearing is above the ‘biodiversity offsets scheme threshold’ under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, approval can only be given by the Native Vegetation Panel. The Native Vegetation Panel is an independent body established under the Local Land Services Act 2013. Application to the Native Vegetation Panel can be made through the Local Land Services.

The Office of Environment and Heritage’s online ‘Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Entry Tool’ can be used to determine if the clearing will exceed the threshold. A report and map is produced which can be printed.

Clearing that does not require approval under the Vegetation SEPP includes:

  • if the clearing of trees and/or other vegetation is authorised under Section 600 of the Local Land Services Act 2013
  • if Council is satisfied * that the trees or other vegetation is dead or dying, and is not required as habitat for native animals
  • if Council is satisfied * that the trees or other vegetation is a risk to human life or property.

* Council is to confirm in writing that it is satisfied that the trees or other vegetation are dead, dying or a risk to human life or property and therefore a development application or permit is not required prior to any clearing being undertaken.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 can be viewed here.

What type of Approval from Council do I need?

Applications

Application for Tree/Vegetation Removal Permit

  • Use for the clearing of trees or other vegetation (except for heritage).

Development Application

  • Use where:
    • a tree or other vegetation is, or forms part of, a heritage item;
    • a tree or other vegetation is within a heritage conservation area;
    • a tree or other vegetation is, or forms part of, an Aboriginal object;
    • a tree or other vegetation is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance;

Written confirmation – When is it needed?

Hawkesbury Development Control Plan requires written confirmation that Council is satisfied that a tree is dead, dying or dangerous be obtained prior to works being carried out on that tree.

Approval to prune a tree is not required, however if pruning is not carried out properly it could injure or destroy the tree, or make the tree unsafe. To ensure that your proposed pruning is carried out correctly, you can obtain written confirmation from Council that the works are consistent with the Australian Standard (AS 4373-2007) for the Pruning of Amenity Trees.

The following form is to be used if you seek to obtain written confirmation that a tree is dead, dying or dangerous, or that your proposed pruning works will not harm a tree:

More information

You can contact Council’s Duty Officer on (02) 4560 4444 during business hours.

Page ID: 162506

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