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Tree Removal and the Pittwater Council: What to Know

If you want to do any tree work on your property in Sydney, you must get a permit from the Pittwater Council. Since everything tree work-related is regulated by the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017, you need to follow the rules or be fined in return. Before you proceed with your plans, here is the essential information you need to know.

Do I Need a Permit from Pittwater Council to Remove a Tree?

  • If you plan to remove a single tree, you can undertake the removal, provided that a) you are the landholder and b) the tree is not a protected tree species.
  • If the tree is a protected tree species or if there are multiple trees to be removed, you must obtain a Tree Removal Permit from Council before undertaking the tree removal.

Moreover, you can cut down any trees that are not on the Exempt Tree Species List and destroy or remove any vegetation on your property without getting a permit from Council so long as it fits the following categories:

  • The tree is less than five metres in height
  • It is in an area wherein the Council authorised tree removal as part of a hazard reduction program
  • The tree is located two metres away from an existing approved building
  • The tree is already dead
  • The tree has fallen or partially fallen due to a storm
  • The tree is certified by a level-5 qualified arborist as high-risk or imminent danger
  • The tree is for removal as per the NSW Rural Fires Act 1997 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • The Rural Fire Services recommend it be removed as it threatens human life.
  • The tree is part of the Biosecurity species listing

These rules also apply if you do the tree or vegetation removal on your property, but the trees and vegetation are over your neighbour’s property. However, Council might still require you to apply for approval if your work is likely to impact your neighbourhood significantly. It is best to check with Council first.

Which Trees are Considered by the Council as Exempt Trees?

If you wonder what trees are protected from removal by the Council, check this list of exempt tree species.

What are the Penalties If I Remove a Tree on my Property without a Permit?

If the tree or vegetation removal on your property was not permitted or you committed a tree-damaging offence, the Council can fine you up to $1.1 million.

Pittwater Council will also apply the following penalties if the work you’re going to do is likely to have a significant impact on your neighbourhood:

  • If your tree or vegetation removal is for development purposes, the Council can issue an Environmental Improvement Notice to you. An Environmental Improvement Notice may require you to undertake any work to mitigate adverse environmental impacts.
  • Suppose the tree or vegetation removal is for development purposes, and you don’t comply with the Environmental Improvement Notice. In that case, the Council can issue you a Penalty Infringement Notice for breaching your permit conditions.

Conclusion

If you’re planning to do tree work on your property, it is highly recommended that you get a permit from the Council first because the Council could give you a hefty fine if you don’t. If you’re thinking of beginning or expanding your business or just planning to renovate your home, you can contact a business consultant for advice. If this seems too much for you to handle, you can always seek help from the experts.

Northside Tree and Garden Services offers various high-quality tree services that can be customised to fit your unique gardening needs and budget. Our team has the knowledge and skills you need to ensure you are doing it correctly. We have a reputation for providing the best tree removal and cutting services in Sydney, and we’re proud to serve the North Shore area and northern suburbs.