Tree management

1.Tree and vegetation management approvals

In most cases you must not ringbark, cut down, top, lop, remove, injure or willfully destroy any tree or other vegetation without approval in the form of either a development consent or a permit granted by Council. In NSW this requirement comes from Local Environmental Plans that are based on a standard instrument that includes the preservation of trees or vegetation for amenity values and for heritage conservation. Under certain circumstances the work you are proposing may be exempt from requiring consent or a permit. 

Please read the requirements about the rules within the QPRC area. If you are unsure whether approval is required please contact Council as development without consent may result in fines of $3,000 (for an individual, or $6,000 for a corporation) per offence, or court action with higher penalties.

In some instances approval may be required under another Act, for example the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 or Native Vegetation Act 2003.

2.Local exemptions

Requirements in the former Queanbeyan City Council area

A permit is required for the removal, ringbarking, lopping, topping, poisoning, pruning, or relocation of all existing trees in Queanbeyan, both native and exotic, having:

  • a height of six metres or greater, or
  • a canopy spread of three metres or greater;

unless it meets the following criteria:

If the tree is not protected under the heritage or significant tree provisions, Council consent or permit is not required in the former Queanbeyan City Council area if the tree is:

  • within six metres of a residential building in an urban area;
  • within 12 metres of a residential building in a rural area;
  • to be pruned as part of routine pruning of fruit trees, forestry work or commercial horticulture;
  • a tree on Council managed lands where the proposed work is approved by Council.

Requirements in the former Palerang Council area

A vegetation permit is required for works on the following prescribed vegetation:

  • In the R1, R2, B2, B4, IN2, RE1, RE2, RU5 and R5 land use zones, any tree having an overall height of 3 metres or more above ground, except where the trunk of the tree is located within 3 metres of any part of any habitable building or within 3 metres from any underground utility service main.
  • Any area of native vegetation on a holding having an area less than 40 ha in RU1 or E2, E3 and E4 land use zones except where such work is authorised under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 or any other Act,
  • Hollow bearing trees,
  • Any tree on ‘public land’ (as defined in the Local Government Act 1993) by any persons not authorised by Council,
  • Significant trees (currently only one listed, within a road reserve under Council management);

If the tree or other vegetation is not protected under the heritage or significant tree provisions, Council consent or permit is not required in the former Palerang Council area for:

  • The pruning of trees, except for trees that contain a hollow(s), where the work involves only minor pruning which is necessary to promote growth or fruit production, or to improve the shape of the tree’s canopy, and is not likely to jeopardise the tree’s existence.
  • The pruning and removal of commercial fruit trees and vines.
  • Invasive/hazardous tree species listed in clause B3.5.2 of the Palerang Development Control Plan(PDF, 3MB), for up to 20 trees per year.

3.State-wide exemptions

If the tree or other vegetation is not protected under the heritage or significant tree provisions, Council consent or permit is not required if:

  • Plants declared to be noxious weeds under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. For more information please check the online list of noxious weeds declared in the QPRC area or contact Council’s Noxious Weeds Section.
  • Clearing is permitted under the RFS 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice (i.e. in specific areas trees may be cleared within 10m, and underlying vegetation within 50m, of a home for bushfire protection). For more information 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 ph: 02 6128 0600).

4.What if the tree/vegetation is on someone else’s land?

If a tree or other vegetation is on public land, or on another person’s private land, you should get approval from the owner/manager of that land before seeking any Council approvals or starting work.

For more information regarding trees on Council land please contact Council’s Tree Management Officer.

If a neighbour’s tree or hedge is impacting on your property, such as a potentially dangerous branch overhanging your land or a tall hedge blocking sunlight, first talk to your neighbour to resolve the issue.

If that is unsuccessful, you can apply to the Land and Environment Court to resolve the issue under the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 (the Trees Act). Council does not become involved in neighbour disputes about trees. For more information please contact the Land and Environment Court on 02 9113 8200, or start an application online.

5.What if the tree/vegetation removal is part of other development?

If the removal of a tree or other vegetation is to enable other development that requires development consent, such as building a house, it is recommended that the tree/vegetation works be included as part of the broader development application so the whole proposal can be fully assessed.

For more information please contact Council’s Development Services.

6.Heritage conservation

Development consent is generally required to demolish or move a tree within the Braidwood heritage conservation area, any heritage-listed tree, or vegetation that forms part of a heritage item (e.g. within a garden setting described with a heritage-listed house).

If Council’s heritage advisor is satisfied that the proposed work is of a minor nature or is for the maintenance of the heritage item/area, and would not adversely affect the heritage significance of the item/area, Council will provide written confirmation that development consent is not required. For more information please contact Council’s Development Services.

If Council is satisfied that the tree is a risk to human life or property we will provide written confirmation that consent is not required. For more information please contact Council’s Development Services.

7.Trees posing an immediate risk to human life or property

For a tree that poses an immediate risk to human life or property, and it is not practical to contact Council, please collect evidence (such as a photo) prior to undertaking any works in case of a later Council investigation into unapproved works.

8.Applying for an approval

Council is excited to announce a new pilot collaboration with Service New South Wales. You can start your application online here.

To make our customer service experience a better one, you may now apply for tree services within the QPRC Local Government Area using the Service NSW Tree Services Application.

Why are we doing this? The demand for online services around the country are ever expanding. By leveraging the expertise of Service NSW in presenting and delivering requests for service, QPRC is expediting your requests and reducing the dependency on paper-driven documentation. During this pilot program, we will be examining the speed and efficiency of the system, and check back with you, our customers to see how you felt the experience was.

If you would like to contact the tree services area please call Council on 02 6285 6000.

Have you put your request through using this new service? We'd love to hear about your experience.

Click here to view form.