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Tree Removal Laws in NSW

There are many reasons why you would want to remove a tree. The tree could be dying, blocking the way for construction, or posing risks of injuries and damage to properties. Although it may be tempting to cut down trees on your property immediately, you must proceed with caution. Thoughtless tree removal in Australia could cost you a significant amount of money for fines. 

The local council of NSW protects trees in the region through tree removal laws stated in the state’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and the Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Thus, before you can cut down trees, you must first obtain a permit and authorisation from the local council. Familiarising yourself with the following laws can also assist you with tree cutting.

Protected Trees

NSW recognises several tree species protected. The cities in NSW consider the significance of trees in terms of:

  • Historical importance
  • Aboriginal importance
  • Botanical importance
  • Landscape amenity
  • Functional purposes

The local council of NSW are strict when it comes to removing and pruning trees that they listed as significant and protected. You may not even cut down trees found in your yard unless you’ve obtained the permission from the local council. Additionally, the board may also ask you to provide them with compelling reasons why you should remove the tree.

Some tree species listed in NSW’s Register of Significant Trees are:

  • Camphor Laurel
  • Chinese Nettle Tree
  • Coral Tree
  • American Nettle Tree
  • Liquidambar

Exempt Trees

In general, you can remove unprotected trees at your will. However, they should have a height and foliage size of at least 5 metres and a trunk diameter of at least 300 mm. You can remove trees that meet these criteria even without a council permit. 

You are also exempted from obtaining council permit if you’re cutting down tree species that are invasive and considered pests. Moreover, these trees do not need to match the criteria mentioned above for you to remove them. 

Although there are exempt trees, you may still get into trouble if you’re uncertain of the tree species you want to remove. Hence, you may want to read up on the registry of significant trees in NSW or ask the help of professionals to be sure.

10/50 Vegetation Rule

The 10/50 law aims to protect people living within 100 metres of bushland. These areas are prone to catch fire, especially during scorching weathers. Thus, if you live or have a property in bushfire-prone zones, you can clear trees and vegetation that are within 10 to 50 metres from the outermost wall of your home or building. You can do so without asking for permission from the local government. However, there are still conditions.

Your method of cutting trees and vegetation should not alter the profile of the soil underneath. The local council does not permit bulldozing, ploughing, and burning as a form of clearing practice. If your land is on a slope, you are not covered by the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Rule because of the high erosion in your area. You cannot cut trees in sloping lands because they play a significant role in erosion control. 

Penalties For Removing Significant Trees

If you’ve had a protected tree removed without the approval of the local council, the local court may charge you a maximum fine of $110,000. On the other hand, you may need to pay up to $1.1 million in the Land and Environment Court. 

Tree Removal Solutions in Sydney

You can always do tree removal by yourself. However, nothing beats the work of professional tree fellers. Tree removal experts possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to finish the job safely and efficiently. Moreover, they also have the proper tools and equipment to do the job right and fast.

Our workers here at Trees Down Under have all of these and more. Our team of trained tree fellers maintain the dedication to every work that we do. It is our goal to provide you with quality and safe tree removal services. Aside from that, we also offer garden and landscape services, green waste removal, and mulching. Trees Down Under remains your reliable service provider for your garden and tree needs.

Need emergency tree removal services? Contact us anytime at 0475 463 597, and we’ll be right where you need us to be.

Trees Down Under