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Preservation of Trees or Vegetation
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.
Council considers it important to carefully manage this precious resource and to preserve the existing urban forest within the City of Parramatta Council Local government Area for the purpose of establishing green corridors and maintaining natural aesthetic values within the urban environment.
Parramatta Development Control Plan 2011 (DCP 2011) Part 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation outlines when Council approval is required to undertake works such as pruning or removing a tree.
What trees are protected?
All trees require approval for any tree works including pruning or removal if the tree is equal to or above 5 metres in height.
To prune or remove a tree, you need to submit a Tree Permit Application, with the appropriate fees, to Council before you carry out any work. However, if the tree being requested to be removed forms part of a development application you need to submit a Development Application Form
For further information see DCP 2011 Part 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation
Exempt tree works
Section 3 of DCP 2011 Section 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation explains when approval from Council (either by tree permit or by development application) is not required to carry out tree works, including the removal or pruning of a tree.
Council recently adopted changes to DCP 2011 Section 5.4 to allow tree works on any tree irrespective of the height where the trunk of the tree at ground level is within 3 metres of:
- the outside enclosing wall of a legally constructed building; or
- the outside edge of the footings of a legally constructed carport; or
- the outside edge of the coping of a legally constructed swimming pool.
This exemption does not apply to any tree which:
- is listed on the Significant Tree Register;
- or 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 Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW) or the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth);
- is or forms part of a heritage item or place;
- is within a heritage conservation area;
- is or forms part of an Aboriginal object;
- is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance, or
- is on public land
Tree owners need to ensure that they are not in one of the above situations before they prune or remove a tree under the new within 3m exemption.
Please note: All trees outside the 3m rule require approval for any tree works including pruning or removal if they are higher than 5m (Check for other exemptions that may apply under DCP 2011 Section 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation Section 3: Exempt Works)
The tree must be completely dead. If you are unsure, refer to the DCP 2011 Part 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation for a definition.
Exempt Species List
You do not need approval to remove a tree listed on the Exempt Species List. Refer to DCP 2011 Part 5.4 Section 3 Part C.3
Heritage Council Approval
Trees on sites listed on the NSW Heritage Register also require Heritage Council approval or exemption prior to any pruning or proposed removal.
Ecological Endangered Community
Where a tree is identified as part of an ecological community listed under Schedules 1 and 2 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, Section 5A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 applies and an “Assessment of Significance” must be prepared by a qualified ecologist and submitted to council with the application.
Council has introduced an Offset program. While Council prefers that trees that are removed are replaced on the site, sometimes circumstances don’t allow this to occur. When this is the case, a financial contribution will be required to be paid to support public tree planting.
Approved works must be completed within 2 years from the date of consent.
Opportunity for review
If you are dissatisfied with a decision, you may request a review of the determination of a tree application Section 82A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 provides that the applicant may request the Council to review the determination. The review must be in writing or on the review application form together with the appropriate fee. The review must be lodged and determined within six (6) months of the date on which you receive the determination notice.
Note: To enable the Section 82A review to be considered within the six month timeframe prescribed under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, it is advisable to lodge the application for review under Section 82A as soon as possible.
Section 82A does not apply to complying development, designated development, integrated development, or a determination made by Council under Division 4 in respect of Crown applications.
Section 97 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 gives you right to appeal to the Land and Environment court within six (6) months of the date on which you receive advice of Council’s decision.
Blocked pipe or sewer
You can remove tree roots that have entered a pipe and have caused an immediate blockage. You need to apply for a Tree Permit to remove the roots surrounding the pipe or if deemed necessary, the entire tree. A comprehensive report prepared by a licensed plumber will enable Council's assessment process to be expedited.
Please note: Under Section 3: Exempt Works DCP 2011 Part 5.4 point C.2 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 tree is located within 5 metres of any sewer".
Suggested contractors for tree pruning/removal?
Council recommends that you only utilize an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 3 qualified arborist to undertake any tree works.
We recommend that you contact Arboriculture Australia for your local, qualified, insured, registered arborist on:
Ph: 1300 664 374 or at
A further list of suitable arborists may also be available from the Tree Contactors Association on:
Trees on public land
Council's Open Space and Recreation section is responsible for the maintenance of trees located in Councils roads, parks and reserves. Similarly, other statutory authorities are responsible for their properties, including the Department of Housing.
These authorities are not exempt from the requirements of the DCP 2011 Part 5.4 Preservation of Trees or Vegetation and require approval from Council prior to removing or pruning a tree.
For trees located on Council owned land such as the nature strip, within a park or in a natural area reserve, please contact the Customer Service Centre on 9806 5000 who will be able to assist with your concern.
Trees underneath electricity wires?
Endeavor Energy should be contacted for all trees affected by power wires on public land. General enquiries phone 131 081 and for emergencies phone 131 003.
Free Trees to Residents
Open days are held at Council's Nursery in Cowells Lane, Ermington where residents can select two FREE trees/shrubs. Dates are advertised in the Council page of the local newspapers.
Last updated on 11 Sep 2015