Feb 16, 2016

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Council Tree Permit Guide

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Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property, you must apply for permission from your local council. Most councils have different policies to the trimming or removal of trees. Councils such as Willoughby, Ku Ring Gai, Manly, Lane Cove and North Sydney allow you to prune without prior permission, 10% of cases may be deemed otherwise, such as if a tree is under a conservation area or heritage listed. Additionally, a few local councils will need permission as some trees are exempt from councils.

Any tree, whether native or an exotic species, is covered under the controls, if it is listed under the Register of Significant Trees, or has:

  • a height of 5m or more
  • a canopy spread of over 5m
  • a trunk diameter of more than 300mm, at ground level.

Depending on the tree species, the condition of the tree or the type of pruning required. There are serious penalties for breaching the jurisdiction. Fines apply for any breach of jurisdiction concerning the pruning or removal of certain trees.

You also need to apply to the Council’s before you prune the overhanging branches of a neighbour’s tree – if it meets the size requirements above. Permission from your neighbour is not required, although it is recommended you let them know as a courtesy that you want to prune the tree.

However, if your tree is dead or immediately dangerous you do not need the council’s permission. More importantly, however, you will have to do the following:

  • record the tree’s condition and the cause of any risk that the tree may pose
  • provide a statement that verifies that the works undertaken will be or where the minimum necessary to manage the risk
  • provide a report to the City from a qualified Arborist, prior to works taking place or immediately following the works.

You can find related local council policies in our council links page, additionally, if you’re after more information about pruning or removing a tree from your property, simply call us on 0412 614 133 or contact us through our online enquiry form. One of our staff members will get back to you within 24hours.