What You Need To Know Before Removing Trees On Your NSW Property
The same laws covering tree removal in Sydney also apply to pruning in most cases as well, especially in the Greater Sydney area.
Most councils will have a height restriction on average 5 meters with a trunk diameter of 300mm and crown spread of 4 meters.
The main document is the LEP ( Local Environmental Plan) devised by the state for each council and each council has DCP (Development Control Plan) which contains each councils plans for trees what can and can’t be done and exempt trees not needing permission.
What are the reasons for wanting a tree removed?
There are many reasons to need or want a tree cutting down, pruned or removed on your property, but it is also very important to note that in some cases, you may not be able to. You see, there are very strict rules when it comes to having a tree removed, all of which depend on the state and local council where you live. This is because there are “protected” trees, which may be incredibly rare or on the verge of extinction, so naturally, their preservation is taken very seriously.
- It might be dying, or perhaps already dead
- It could be pestiferous and diseased, posing a hazard to other surrounding plant life
- The tree may have been planted in an incorrect or inconvenient position #
- To clear way for new renovations
- You are concerned for the safety of you or one of your neighbours
What does it cost to have a tree removed?
There is always the option of felling a tree yourself, but this is something that we do not recommend at all. The best approach is to hire a professional tree removal specialist to assist you. They will have considerable experience and all of the required equipment to pull the job off safely and efficiently. The cost can range anywhere between $500 and $5000, depending on the following factors:
- Where the tree is located
- How easy the tree is to get to
- What sort of precautions need to be taken
- The size of the tree, how high it is and how far the branches reach
- Overall removal, transportation and stump grinding fees
Tree removal & pruning rules For New South Wales
It is important to remember that simply for having a tree exist on your property, it does not mean that you are free to do with it as you please. As a matter of fact, if you remove a protected tree from your property without first seeking and receiving approval from your local council, you can get into a lot of trouble, including incurring significant financial fines.
There are native species which are protected throughout the entire country. In addition to that, you will need to provide very specific reasons to get approval for the removal.
There are certain species which are considered to be pests and are exempt from the tree removal rule. You’re also exempt when pruning, and maintaining protected trees when intervention is in the best interest of the tree’s survival.
Ultimately, each individual council has the final say when approving a tree for removal. This is decided using TPOs and LEPs (tree preservation orders, and local environment plans).
Provided that a tree isn’t significant or “protected” you are free to remove it as you wish. However, it is also worth checking out the significant tree registries before going ahead and having anything removed. Of course, if you’re unsure then you should definitely call for professional advice and assistance.
LEP’s used to identify significant or “protected” trees:
- The trees historical or Aboriginal importance
- It’s botanical importance
- The landscape amenity
- Functional purposes (e.g., habitat, windbreak etc)
Not only that, but councils will also use tree preservation orders to control what can be done to trees that aren’t protected. It all depends on the way in which the tree impacts the land. As such, your local council does reserve the right to deny the removal of a tree.
All of that said, it is still possible to remove a tree that is protected by TPO’s and LEP’s, under the following circumstances:
- If the tree is damaged and dead, posing an immediate danger
- The roots of the tree and interfering with utility lines and pipes
- The tree is threateningly close to a building
- If the tree is blocking a boundary between yours and a neighbouring property
- Branches are overhanging and being a nuisance
- Certain other conditions provided by your local council
Please do be aware that the current maximum penalty in the local court is $110,000, whilst the Land and Environment Court could charge you up to $1.1 million. In addition to that, if you live in an area that is within proximity to bushland, which is naturally prone to bushfires in extreme heat, you will also have to adhere to the New South Wales Rural Fire Services’ 10/50 vegetation clearing rule.
It’s worth checking with the local professionals if you’re unsure as to what species a tree is and whether it is protected. Then you can seek further advice from your local council if the tree is posing a serious threat to you and your family.