Trees

Old Government House and tree lined street

Trees play an important role in the ‘greening’ of our city. They make our surroundings pleasant, provide relief from summer heat and reduce glare from pavement. They also increase the value of real estate, reduce stormwater runoff and improve the quality of the air we breathe.

It is important to carefully manage this precious resource and to preserve the existing urban forest within our City. 

Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property you may be required to apply for permission from the City of Parramatta Council. The controls regarding the pruning and removal of trees on private and Public land are found within Part 5.4 (Preservation of Trees and Vegetation) of Parramatta Council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) 2011 

As a result of the State Government’s council amalgamations in May 2016, a number of different DCPs now apply to the City of Parramatta Local Government Area. Until such time that a combined DCP is announced for the new City of Parramatta Local Government Area, former residents of Auburn, The Hills, Holroyd or Hornsby Council areas are subject to the relevant tree protection controls provided by your former Local Government Area. You can view these controls in full via the relevant link below: 

PROTECTED TREES

Tree protection controls for most of the City of Parramatta Council Local Government Area generally apply to any tree or palm, whether it is a native or an exotic species that:

  • has a height equal to or exceeding 5 metres 
  • any tree or mangrove vegetation located on public land, irrespective of size
  • forms part of a heritage item, or that is within a heritage conservation area 
  • forms part of an Aboriginal object, or that is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance
  • is listed on the NSW Heritage Register.

If a tree is identified as part of an ecological community listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016  then an “Assessment of Significance” must be prepared by a qualified ecologist and submitted to Council with your application. 

Former residents of Auburn, The Hills, Holroyd or Hornsby Council areas are currently subject to the relevant tree protection controls provided by your former Local Government Area which vary to the control described above.

Former residents from Hornsby Council should be aware that a draft amendment is due to go before Council in early 2018.

OBTAINING APPROVAL FOR TREE WorkS

Different types of approvals for tree works

Since the introduction of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017, there are two types of application streams through which tree works (pruning or removal) are administered.

Application types:

If you want to prune or remove a tree you will need to submit a Tree Permit Application Form Online. However, if the property where the tree is located tree is listed as a Heritage item or within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA), is an Aboriginal object or is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance you will need to apply for a Development Application for Tree Works (DAT).

Applications must be made by all owners of the land on which the tree works are to be carried out or by any person with written consent of the owners.

SUBMITTING THE APPROPRIATE APPLICATION

If your property or tree is not listed as the following:

  • A Heritage Listed item
  • Within a Heritage Conservation Area
  • An Aboriginal object
  • Within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance

You will need to submit a Tree Permit Application Form Online.

Applicable fees for Tree Permit Applications are:

  • 1 Tree - $125.00
  • Each additional tree - $103.00
    (A discount of 25% of the total application fee is available for holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card issued by Centrelink or a Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veterans' Affairs).

Lodgement is available on the Council’s Online Portal or in person at Council’s Customer contact Centre. 

Approved works must be completed within two years from the date of consent.

If you want to remove a tree and your property or tree is listed as:

  • A Heritage Listed item
  • Within a Heritage Conservation Area
  • An Aboriginal object
  • Within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance

You will need to submit a Development Application for Tree Works form.

You can check if your property is listed as a heritage item or within a Heritage Conservation Area on the NSW ePlanning spatial viewer.

If you are just wanting to commence minor tree works* such as pruning only, you are still able to apply for a Tree Permit Application.  

*Minor tree works are generally considered as pruning for general crown maintenance or modification with consideration to the guidelines set out in Australian Standard 4373 Pruning of amenity trees.  Where Council is satisfied that the minor tree works will not adversely affect a Heritage Item or the Heritage significance of the Heritage conservation area, an Aboriginal object or an Aboriginal place of heritage significance a permit may be issued.

Additional information such as an arboricultural report, heritage impact statement, structural engineer’s report, plumber’s report or a Landscape Plan may be required to support your Development Application for Tree Works (removal). 

Written consent is required by all owners of the land upon which the works are proposed to be undertaken.

Applicable fee for a Development Application for Tree Works (DAT) –

The applicable fee for a Development Application for Tree works is $214.00.

This includes a DA assessment fee of $110.00 and a notification/advertising fee of $104.00.

Please note that you cannot apply for this application if the property or tree is not a heritage-listed item, not within a Heritage Conservation Area, is not an Aboriginal object or is not within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance.

The maximum fee for a development application for tree works is $214.00.

All approved tree works must be completed within two years from the date of any consent.

Lodgement is available on the Council’s Online Portal or in person at Council’s Customer contact Centre. 

YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S TREE 

You generally need to apply to the Council before you prune overhanging branches from your neighbour's tree, however, we encourage you to check the exemptions contained within the relevant Development Control Plan for your area as sometimes pruning of overhanging trees can be undertaken without Council approval. 

Permission from your neighbour is not required provided you have a permit and you do not need to access their property to undertake tree works. Council does recommend you let them know as a courtesy before you want to prune their trees.  

The application form must be completed and submitted to Council together with the appropriate fee. Approved works must be completed within two years from the date of consent.

EXEMPT TREES

Certain trees do not require a permit or development application approval for removal or pruning.  It is recommended you confirm your tree is exempt by reviewing the exemption provisions contained in the relevant DCP for your area.

Exemptions do not apply where any tree:

  • is located on a site classified as being part of a vulnerable, threatened or endangered ecological community or provides or has the potential to provide habitat for native fauna or fauna classified as vulnerable or threatened under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW) or the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
  • forms part of a heritage item or place
  • is within a heritage conservation area
  • forms part of an Aboriginal object
  • is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance
  • is on public land.

OFFSET PROGRAM

When trees are removed, they should be replaced on the site with another tree however sometimes circumstances don’t allow this to happen. In these cases, a financial contribution will be required to be paid to support public tree planting. 

REVIEWING A DECISION

If you are dissatisfied with a decision Section 12 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 [NSW] gives you the right to appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 3 months after the date on which you receive the Determination.

BLOCKED PIPE OR SEWER

Tree roots that have entered a pipe and caused an immediate blockage can be removed. You will need to apply for a Tree Permit Application Form to remove the roots surrounding the pipe or if necessary, the entire tree. A sewer diagram and a comprehensive report prepared by a licensed plumber will enable Council's assessment process to be expedited.

You may prune or remove a Populus sp. (Poplar), Salix sp. (Willow), Cinnamomum camphora (Camphor Laurel) and Liquidambar styraciflua (Liquidambar) without consent where the trunk of such a tree is located within 5m of any sewer.

SUGGESTED CONTRACTORS 

We recommend you only use an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 3 qualified arborist to undertake any tree works. Look for a local registered arborist who is qualified and has the appropriate insurance.

For more detailed information on selecting an arborist, please visit the Safework NSW website.

To locate a qualified and insured arborist contact:

Arboriculture Australia 
w: arboriculture.org.au 
p: 1300 664 374 
e: enquiries@arboriculture.org.au

Tree Contractors Association:
w: tcaa.com.au 
p: 1300 660 379 
e: admin@tcaa.com.au