Trees on Private Land

1. Overview

Council do not remove or prune trees on private land.  We do, however, protect and preserve the urban environment by regulating how trees are managed when they are on private property.  

Reports of fallen trees or branches requiring emergency work on private land should be reported to the SES on 132 500.

2. Urban Trees

Removing a tree and other works to clear vegetation often requires approval from Council or another government agency. The definition of ‘clear vegetation’ includes:

(a) cut down, fell, uproot, kill, poison, ringbark, burn or otherwise destroy the vegetation, or

(b) lop or otherwise remove a substantial part of the vegetation

General pruning and removal of vegetation

Queanbeyan, Googong and Jerrabomberra

Please refer to the Queanbeyan Development Control Plan 2012 here, refer to page 67 2.12 Tree and Vegetation Management through to 2.12.6 Controls.

If an application is required please click the following link which will take you to Service NSW online tree permit application tool: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-tree-be-removed-or-pruned

Depending on the scope of work proposed, you may need to attach a copy of an arborist’s report. We act as the consent authority only and do not undertake technical reports or provide advice.

The cutting or clearing of vegetation may be restricted by covenants or other restrictions under section 88B of the Conveyancing Act 1919.

For trees listed as heritage items or within a garden setting described with a heritage listing or if the tree is located in a Heritage Conservation Area an application to Council’s Strategic Land-use Planning section may also be required. More information is available here.

Braidwood, Bungendore and other areas

Please refer to the Palerang Development Control Plan 2015 here, refer to page 24 B3.5.1Vegetation Removal that requires consent granted by council – prescribed vegetatiothrough to B3.5.2 Vegetation removal that does not require consent by Council.

If an application is required please click the following link which will take you to Service NSW online tree permit application tool:

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-tree-be-removed-or-pruned

Depending on the scope of work proposed, you may need to attach a copy of an arborist’s report. We act as the consent authority only and do not undertake technical reports or provide advice.

The cutting or clearing of vegetation may be restricted by covenants or other restrictions under section 88B of the Conveyancing Act 1919.

For trees listed as heritage items or within a garden setting described with a heritage listing or if the tree is located in a Heritage Conservation Area an application to Council’s Strategic Land-use Planning section may also be required.  More information is available here.

 

Clearing on vegetation for bushfire protection

Clearing may be permitted under the Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice. In specific bushfire-prone areas trees within 10m and other underlying vegetation within 50m, of specific types of built structures may be removed for bushfire protection. The 10/50 Code allows you to clear, but not does require it.  

Several conditions surround this code and careful consideration needs to be made prior to enacting this vegetation clearing. Conditions can be read here:

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/1050-vegetation-clearing

Please use the online 10/50 vegetation clearing tool to check whether your property is within a Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, or contact NSW Rural Fire Service  Queanbeyan office 02 6128 0600.

Clearing of vegetation for development

If the vegetation intended for clearing is to enable other development that requires development consent, such as building a house, the vegetation clearing proposal should be included with the development application.

The clearing can then be assessed as part of the broader proposal, rather than as a stand-alone vegetation permit. For more information please refer to The Development Application Process page, or contact council’s Development branch. 

3. Rural Trees

Rural trees are an integral part of the landscape. As well as their intrinsic value, they provide important habitat, aesthetic values, contribute to landscape connectivity and character, and provide many ecosystem services. These include clean air, shade and temperature regulation, supporting pollinator populations, maintaining the water cycle through evapotranspiration, stabilising soil, regulating soil moisture, sequestering carbon, and maintaining populations of beneficial fauna and soil microbes. Trees and other vegetation may also have significant Aboriginal and settler cultural and historic values, and are protected under NSW legislation or local planning controls. To safeguard these values, tree clearing is regulated by a number of agencies, including Council, in rural areas.

Regulation of vegetation clearing, pruning and tree removal in non-urban areas depends on the zoning of your land. If you are unsure, check land use zones here: https://www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Building-Development/Planning-Zoning/Online-Mapping.

The flowchart summarises approvals and exemptions in different zones and contexts(PDF, 115KB). For further detail, keep reading…

Bushfire protection

Clearing may be permitted without Council approval under the Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice in specific bushfire-prone areas. In these circumstances, trees may be cleared within 10m of a home and underlying vegetation within 50m for bushfire protection, subject to conditions. 

You can use the online 10/50 vegetation clearing tool to check whether your property is within a Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, or contact NSW Rural Fire Service (Queanbeyan office ph: 02 6128 0600).

Clearing as part of a Development Application

 If you intend to clear trees or other vegetation as part of a Development Application, clearing is assessed as part of the approval process. You need to check whether there are significant biodiversity impacts associated with the development: this is a requirement under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, and penalties apply. If clearing is proposed in an area on the NSW Biodiversity Values Map, or above a threshold area based on minimum lot size, or in an area which provides habitat for a threatened species or ecological community, you will need to engage an accredited biodiversity assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR) as part of your DA. You can check whether this is needed by checking the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool https://www.lmbc.nsw.gov.au/Maps/index.html?viewer=BOSETMap.  A biodiversity assessor can also provide a check for significant habitat impacts by a Test of Significance (5-part Test). If impacts are likely to be significant, a BAR will be needed as part of your DA application. If the BAR indicates there are potential biodiversity impacts, they must be avoided, minimised, or if unavoidable, offset by purchasing biodiversity credits under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme administered by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust. This ensures that equivalent biodiversity is managed in perpetuity to compensate for losses on site. For more information, see The Development Application process.

Clearing on land zoned rural (RU1, RU2, RU3 & RU4 – NOT RU5)

This is regulated by Local Land Services. Check their website (https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/) for details, including contacts for local offices, or telephone 1300 795 299.

Clearing or tree removal in Environmental zones or RU5 zones

This is regulated by the NSW State Environment Planning Policy Vegetation in Non-rural Areas 2017 (Vegetation SEPP).

Exemptions

There are exemptions for vegetation that is deemed by Council to be:

  • dead or dying and NOT providing habitat for native animals, or
  • posing an imminent risk to human life or property.

Contact Council’s Tree Officer to arrange an inspection. While Council does not issue a permit, it needs to be satisfied that these conditions are met, and that other restrictions do not apply.

Heritage

If the tree/s themselves have significant heritage values (e.g. scar trees or trees with early surveyors’ marks), or contribute to the fabric or appearance of a heritage item, a DA maybe required. This applies to trees that are part of Aboriginal cultural heritage, or within a heritage conservation area.

If the tree or vegetation has other heritage values, or is on the QPRC Significant Tree Register, pruning, lopping or removal requires a Vegetation Permit from council. You can check items on local and state heritage registers here: https://www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Building-Development/Heritage#section-3.

Biodiversity

 If clearing is likely to have biodiversity impacts (located on the Biodiversity Values Map or above a clearing threshold set for the relevant minimum lot size) or may impact habitat for threatened species, it may require approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. You can check whether this applies by entering location details on the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool https://www.lmbc.nsw.gov.au/Maps/index.html?viewer=BOSETMap.  If this indicates potential biodiversity impacts, you will need a Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR) prepared by an accredited assessor. This is submitted to the Native Vegetation Panel for assessment. Council does not handle these applications unless they are associated with a Development Application – they are submitted through Local Land Services. Check their website (https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/) for details, including contacts for local offices, or telephone 1300 795 299.

Council Development Controls

For all other situations, Council’s Development Control Plans (DCPs) apply. Check which is applicable, and any exemptions at https://www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Building-Development/Planning-Zoning/Planning-Controls#section-3.

If an application is required please follow the link which will take you to the Service NSW online tree permit application tool:

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-tree-be-removed-or-pruned.

For any further enquiries, please ring QPRC on 1300 735 025.