How to apply

How to apply


If you want to prune or remove a tree on private property, you should check to see if the tree is protected under the development control plan tree management controls or if any exemptions apply. If not, you will need to identify if a permit or development consent is required.

If you need to apply for a permit, you will need to lodge a prune/remove tree application, including the $80 application fee.

If you need development consent, you will need to lodge a development application, including the $110 application fee and $535 notification fee.

Pruning trees in your neighbour's yard

Before you prune branches overhanging from a neighbour's tree, you need to lodge an application with us. Permission from your neighbour is not required but we recommend you let them know as a courtesy.

Pruning a neighbour's tree back to the property line is not permitted as it will damage the tree. All pruning must conform to the Australian Standard for the Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373).

Removing trees in your neighbour's yard

We will not accept your application to remove a neighbour's tree unless you have obtained your neighbour's consent (signed on the application form) to remove a tree on their property.

Your neighbour's consent must be provided to remove a tree on their property.

How long will the application process take?

Under the state government's environmental planning policy for vegetation in non-rural areas we will assess your application in 28 days.

If you have not been notified after 28 days, excluding any time waiting on further information, your application has been refused. We may grant or refuse a permit after this time even though it has been deemed to have been refused.

When we have received your application and you have paid the required fee, our tree management officer will contact you (if requested in your application). The officer will arrange to inspect the tree and determine its current health, condition, structure and environmental benefits.

If your tree needs further analysis such as aerial inspection, resistance testing, pathology assessment or root investigations, you will need to engage a consultant arborist who is qualified to report on the health and safety of the tree. We will outline the requirements in writing to help with the arborist’s final report.

How to appeal a decision

If your permit has been refused, under the state government's policy, you can appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 3 months.

Please note, an application for a review of the determination of a permit is not available under section 82A, 82B and 96AB of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

If your development application has been refused, there are several options available.

Permit conditions

If your permit to remove or prune a tree on private property is approved, it will include a number of conditions that must be followed. For example, see replacement planting below.

Tree removal and pruning

All tree works must be done by a qualified arborist with a minimum level  3 in Arboriculture ( AQF ). The works must be done in line with the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice – Amenity Tree Industry.

All pruning work must be done in line with Australian Standard 4373–2007, Pruning of Amenity Trees. This will ensure your tree continues to grow and is not harmed by incorrect pruning practices.

Replacement planting

Most permits for tree removal will include a condition to replace the tree on the property, to minimise canopy cover loss for the local area.

The permit will specify the requirements for the new tree, including its size when planted and the mature height it must achieve. The species selection is at the property owner’s discretion.

When deciding the new location we encourage you to consider how close it is to:

  • services such as electricity wires and sewer/drainage lines
  • buildings and boundary walls
  • neighbouring properties.

If you don’t follow the permit conditions it is an offence and you can be penalised.

Penalties for pruning and removing trees without a permit or consent

If you remove or prune trees without a permit or development consent you will be committing an offence.

Depending on how serious the offence is, you may be issued with a penalty infringement notice, or prosecuted for unauthorised tree removal or pruning in either the Local Court or the Land and Environment Court.

If you break the law there are significant penalties. Maximum penalties of up to $2 million may be imposed against companies and $500,000 for individuals.

Guidelines for pruning, reporting and using an arborist

Trees may require some maintenance during their lives. Please use a qualified arborist when seeking advice about your tree. Poor tree works can do irreparable damage.

The guidelines below can help you choose an arborist and understand tree reports, pruning and root mapping.

Last updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2020