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Trees on Private Property

Trees on Private Property

The controls relating to tree management on private property are contained in pdf-new-icon.gif Council's Development Control Plan - Section C1.14 - Tree Management (PDF 759.5KB)

Council advises that you read through this section of the Development Control Plan (DCP) 2013 before undertaking tree works or applying for consent for works to a tree.

Do I need Council consent to remove or prune a tree?

Certain works can be undertaken without obtaining prior Council consent.

All other works need consent. The type of consent required depends upon whether the tree is located witih a Heritage Conservation Area or on a property listed as a Heritage Item under Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013.

Works Without Council Approval

  • Removal of trees that are less than 6 metres in height and have a trunk diameter of less than 200 millimetres, when measured at height of 1.4 metres from the ground that are not on a site that is a  Heritage Item or within a Heritage Conservation Area;
  • Pruning or removal of noxious weeds under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993;
  • The complete removal of torn limbs and dead wood up to a maximum of 25% of the tree canopy;
  • Removal of  Exempt Tree Species, even when located on a Heritage Item or in a Heritage Conservation Area 
  • Pruning of less than 10% of the canopy up to once every growing season provided the tree is not located on the site of a heritage item. Note:All branches to be pruned must be less than 100 millimetres in diameter.
  • Root pruning of less than 10% of the root system up to once every growing season provided the tree is not located of the site of a heritage item or within a heritage conservation area. The works must be undertaken by an arborist (minimum AQF Level 3 qualified) and not be within the Structural Root Zone of the tree.

Removing Trees on Your Property

If you would like to remove a tree from your own property you will need to complete and lodge an application to Council. Unless your tree is listed in the Exempt Tree Species and meets the criteria listed for works that can be carried out without Council approval.

You can lodge your form:

In person: Council’s administration building at 7-15 Wetherill Street, Leichhardt
By mail to: Leichhardt Council, PO Box 45, Leichhardt, NSW, 2040.

Lodgement of an application for tree removal shall incur a fee and must be paid when lodging the application.

By Mail – cheque only.
In person – cash, cheque, EFTPOS, credit card (0.8% charge on credit card payments; no Amex or Diners)

Overhanging Branches from Neighbour's Property

Neighbours have the right to prune the branches of a tree overhanging their property, but only where the pruning meets the criteria listed for works that can be carried out without Council approval.  See above Works Without Council Approval

This pruning can only occur to the boundary line and should occur without crossing the boundary to undertake the pruning.  All work must ensure the safety and health of the tree and be undertaken in accordance with the Australian Standard of Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373 - 2007). It is advisable to approach your neighbour prior to pruning.

Removal of the tree, pruning more than 10% of the canopy or any works to a tree located on a property listed as a Heritage Item needs Council consent. You may apply for this consent, however the owner of the property the tree is located on must sign the application form.

Tree Removal Assessments

Timeframes for inspection may vary depending on the work load at the time of your application. Council must be notified if your presence is required for access to the site. Following assessment of the application and an inspection of the tree, a written determination will be mailed to the applicant.

Council will determine if the work you wish to undertake is necessary. When assessing and determining tree applications, Council shall take into account the following:

  • the ecological, heritage and amenity values of the tree and any potential loss of these values;
  • suitability of the tree for site conditions;
  • the condition of the tree;
  • whether damage is occurring to significant structures that cannot be addressed without removal of the tree;
  • whether the removal is to facilitate the repair or replacement of sewer pipes;
  • whether the tree is deemed to be a tree of landscape significance.

Further information about these criteria is outlined in Section 3.1 – Matters for Consideration of Council's pdf-new-icon.gifTree Management Technical Manual (PDF 355.9KB).

Appeals against Tree Removal decisions

You can review a Tree Removal decision by contacting Council’s Landscape Assessment Officer on 9367 9383 between 8.30am and 10.00am Monday to Friday. If after discussions with the above officer, you are still not satisfied, you may appeal the determination in writing. The appeals process is as follows:

  • The appeal must be lodged within six months of the date of the determination.
  • The appeal must be accompanied by additional information not already provided in support of the application.
  • An assessment of the tree by an independent arborist’s report and/or a report from a consulting engineer or other accredited expert as appropriate in support of the application.
  • A fee applies to appeals on all previous tree determinations. This fee is currently 50% of the original application fee.

An appeal may be made to the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales within  6 months of the date of determination. Please seek your own legal advice in this regard.

Minor Works Request

The removal of a dying or dead tree or a tree that is a risk to human life or property may be carried out in the following circumstances:

  1. The tree is located on the applicant’s property;
  2. The dead or dying tree is not required as the habitat of native fauna;
  3. The minor works form is accompanied by evidence including photographs, a report from a suitably qualified arborist (minimum qualification AQF level 3 Arboriculture) and any other necessary expert that the tree is dead or dying; removal of the tree is the only reasonable option to avoid an immediate threat of injury to human life or property; and
  4. Council has notified the applicant that it is satisfied that the tree is dying, dead, not required as the habitat for native fauna or is a risk to human life or property.

Canopy pruning of a prescribed tree other than a tree that is or forms part of a Heritage Item or is within a Heritage Conservation Area, may be carried out not less than 5 working days after the lodgement of a minor works form in the following circumstances:

  1. the tree is growing on the applicants’ property; and 
  2. it is proposed to prune more than 10% but less than 20% of the canopy; and
  3. all pruning will comply with AS 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees; and 
  4. the pruning will be undertaken by a suitably qualified person (minimum qualification AQF level 3 Arboriculture); and 
  5. canopy pruning of the tree has not been undertaken within the previous 24 months

pdf-new-icon.gif Tree Minor Works Permit Application (PDF 190.5KB) 

Tree Permit Application

Tree permit applications are required for tree removals (other than Exempt Tree Species on a heritage listed property). Tree permit applications are also required for pruning less than 10% of the canopy of a tree located within the grounds of a property listed as an Item of Environmental Heritage under Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013.

pdf-new-icon.gif Tree Permit Application (PDF 185.7KB)

Development Applications

For trees located within Heritage Conservation Areas or within the grounds of a property listed as an Item of Environmental Heritage under Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013 removal is permissible where the tree is dead or dying or subject to a "Minor Works Request".  All other works such as tree removal or canopy pruning >10% of canopy (in excess of minor works) require the submission of a development application.  Find out how to make a Development Application

Exempt Tree Species

Pruning or removal of the following species can occur without obtaining prior consent from Council, irrespective of their height or whether they are located on the site of a Heritage Item or within a Heritage Conservation Area:

i. Bambusa spp. (Bamboo) [all types]

ii. Eriobotrya japonica (Japanese Loquat)

iii. Ficus elastica (Rubber tree)

iv. Ligustrum sinense (Small-leaf privet)

v. Ligustrum lucidum (Large leaf privet)

vi. Musa spp. (Banana)

vii. Nerium oleander (Oleander)

viii. Toxicodendron succadeneum (Rhus tree/Japanese Wax)

ix. Morus nigra (Mulberry)

x. Syagrus romanzoffianum [syn. Arecastrum romanzoffianum] (Cocos Palm / Queen Palm

xi. Schefflera spp. (Umbrella Tree/Umbrella Plant)

xii. Persea americana (Avocado Pearl Tree)

xiii. Ailanthus spp. (Tree of Heaven)

xiv. Lagunaria patersonia (Norfolk Island Hibiscus

xv. Mangifera indica (Mango Tree)

xvi. Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) (when less than 10m in height)

xvii. Celtis Occidentalis (American Nettle Tree) (when less than 10m in height)