Pruning and removing trees

Pruning and removing trees

Permission is required

Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property, you must apply for permission from the City of Sydney. Depending on the tree species, condition of the tree or the type of pruning required, some exemptions may apply.

Our tree management controls aim to protect individual trees and the city's urban forest.

All trees (except heritage trees)

To remove or prune a tree that is protected under the Sydney Development Control Plan 2012 but is not a heritage tree, you will need to apply for a permit.

Heritage items

If the tree you want to remove is a heritage item included on the heritage trees list, you will need development consent.

If the works are minor, are for pruning, or are to maintain the heritage item and it will not affect its heritage significance or the heritage conservation area, and it is not included on the heritage trees list, you will need to apply for a permit.

Please note, if a site inspection shows removing or substantially pruning the tree is not minor works, development consent will be required.

How to apply

State environmental planning policy

The state government introduced its environmental planning policy for vegetation in non-rural areas in 2017. The policy changed how and when you need to apply for approval to prune and remove trees on private property, including the need for development consent for heritage trees. The policy also covers assessment timeframes and an appeals process.

The policy repealed clauses 5.9 and 5.9AA of the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012, which previously covered preserving trees and vegetation. 

Protected trees and exemptions under the Sydney Development Control Plan 2012 have not changed. For more information see section 3.5.3 of the plan.

Last updated: Monday, 19 March 2018