Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Tree management

On this page

Image of a tree with required measurements for the Definition of a tree.Definition of a tree

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Development Control Plan identifies a tree as meeting each of the following:

  1. is five (5) metres or more in height;
  2. has a trunk diameter of 100mm or more at a height of 1.3 metres above natural ground surface;
  3. has a branch span diameter of three (3) metres or more.

When is consent required for tree removal or pruning

Consent is required for tree removal and pruning on all land zoned RU5 Village, R2 Low Density Residential, R3 Medium Density Residential, B1 Neighbourhood Centre, B2 Local Centre, B4 Mixed Use, IN1 General Industrial, IN2 Light Industrial, SP2 Infrastructure, RE1 Public Recreation and RE2 Private Recreation within the Bega Valley Shire. Anyone proposing removal of native vegetation from any other zone should contact the Southern Rivers Catchment Authority on (02) 64918200 to determine whether or not consent is required under the Native Vegetation Act 2003.

Consent is not required where work is carried out by or with the consent of the tree owner for the following:

  • Trees that are within 4m measured from the closest point of the trunk at 1.3m above natural ground surface to the eave and guttering of an existing residential.
  • Crown maintenance works to a maximum of 20% of the canopy in any two year period that is carried out by a suitably qualified arborist in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4373 – 1996 Pruning of Amenity Trees.
  • Tree works that are carried out in compliance with a Council consent to clear vegetation
  • Tree works that are carried out in accordance with an approved Hazard Reduction Certificate from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
  • Trees that are listed as Exempt Species (see Table 5.2).

Note: A development application is required in cases involving trees or vegetation that are heritage listed, on a heritage listed property or within a heritage conservation area.

Exempt Species

List of Exemptions - Exempt tree species on private land by Botanical and Common

  • Acacia baileyana - Cootamundra Wattle
  • Acacia mearnsii - Black Wattle
  • Acacia podalyriifolia - Queensland Silver Wattle
  • Albizia lophantha - Cape Leeuwin Wattle
  • Alnus spp. - Alders
  • Chamaecytisus spp. - Tree Lucerne
  • Erythrina x sykesii - Indian Coral Tree
  • Ligustrum spp. - Privet
  • Olea europea ssp. africanus - African Olive
  • Ficus elastica - Rubber Tree
  • Cinnamomum camphora - Camphor Laurel
  • Pinus radiata - Radiata Pine
  • Populus spp. - Poplars
  • Salix spp. - Willows
  • Crataegus monogyna - Hawthorn
  • Robinia pseudoacacia - Black Locust
  • Prunus laurocerasus - Cherry Laurel
  • Toxicodendron succudaneum - Rhus
  • Solanum mauritianum - Wild tobacco bush
  • Acer negundo - Box Elder
  • Gleditsia triacanthos - Honey Locust
  • Paulownia tomentosa - Paulownia
  • Ailanthus altissima - Tree of Heaven
  • Cotoneaster spp. - Cotoneaster
  • Pyracantha angustifolia - Orange Firethorn
  • Sambucus nigra - Common Elder (Elderberry)
  • Trees grown primarily for the purpose of harvesting edible fruit

Requirements for making an application for tree removal or pruning

All applications for tree management works on both private and public land need to be made on a Tree Action Request Form.

The following general information is required to be submitted with an application. The amount and level of detail required may vary depending on the circumstances when applying for consent.

  1. The written consent of the owner of the land;
  2. Detail as to the reason for the removal of the tree;
  3. A description of existing trees and vegetation including the following:
  • A plan of the site showing the location of tree(s) to be removed, drainage and sewer mains, all buildings, paved areas and overhead power lines;
  • Species type (Botanical and/or common names);
  • Approximate height, canopy spread of individual trees and diameter of trunk (DBH) at a height of 1.3 metres above the ground.
  1. A description (as above) of existing trees and native vegetation on adjoining land:
  • Within three metres of the site boundaries (including street trees);
  • Where the canopy of a tree overhangs the site boundaries.
  1. Proposed site management works including:
  • Trees and vegetation to be retained and protected;
  • Methods of retention and/or protection during the works;
  • Proposed new plantings (species, mature height and spread);
  • Altered ground levels, including cut and fill details, if any;
  • Site drainage including siltation and erosion controls to be implemented where necessary;
  • Proposed horticultural details including growing medium, mulching and irrigation.
  1. Where the proposal will cause injury to a tree with aesthetic, cultural, heritage or ecological significance, the application will need to include a report prepared by an arborist with a minimum qualification of certificate of arboriculture, or equivalent. A report will provide detail on the tree including but not limited to its condition, a review of options for managing the tree in accordance with AS 4373 – 1996 Pruning of Amenity Trees, any reasons why the tree cannot be managed in accordance with the Australian Standard, and a recommendation of the most appropriate management of the tree.
  2. Applicable fees to be paid to BVSC (Refer to Council Schedule of Fees and Charges - Tree Preservation Order).

Tree removal considerations

In assessing whether or not to approve an application for removal or pruning of a tree, BVSC must consider the following:

  • Exceeding heights as prescribed within the Obstacle Limitation Surface as defined by Clause 6.8 of the Local Environmental Plan.
  • Whether the tree has significant amenity or aesthetic value or is ecologically significant in the local or regional context
  • The condition, maturity and safe useful life expectancy of the tree or native vegetation with respect to the practicality of remedial actions. In the case of trees considered dangerous, Council will consider a report on the condition of a tree prepared by a suitably qualified arborist
  • A report provided by a suitably qualified arborist where the tree is culturally or ecologically significant
  • Whether the tree or remnant vegetation is affected by the provisions of any other Act, Regulation or State Environment Planning Policy (applicable to the subject land
  • The potential hazards to persons or property
  • The demonstrated need for reasonable passive solar access
  • Whether a tree must be replaced by a more suitable species
  • Whether an amenity tree no longer fulfils its original purpose in the landscape
  • Whether the species’ natural propagation method is likely to create a nuisance in the landscape
  • Whether appropriate additional or replacement planting has been, or must be, carried out
  • The need for, and suitability of, erosion and siltation controls
  • Whether permanent and/or temporary barrier fencing is required prior to works commencing
  • Whether a monetary bond is required to ensure the protection of trees on-site and adjoining lands
  • Whether the tree provides habitat or is a significant component of the habitat of a species listed in Schedule 1 and 2 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
  • Whether prior to felling of a tree, special measures are set in place to reduce the potential for injury or death of animals likely to inhabit the tree
  • Whether a Vegetation Management Plan must accompany the application for tree/vegetation works

Provided that no significant hazard to persons or property applies, then the following shall not generally be considered as valid reasons to remove a tree:

  • leaf drop into gutters, downpipes, pools and so on
  • to increase natural light to a building or garden area
  • to improve street lighting of private property
  • to enhance or create views
  • to minimise fruit, resin or bird droppings on cars or buildings and driveways
  • minor lifting of driveways or garden paths by tree roots
  • bushfire hazard control that has not been verified by Council
  • potential damage to sewer mains unless supported by written expert advice and only where reasonable alternatives are not feasible (e.g. relocation or encasement of main pipe).

Works on public land

BVSC manages the care and protection of trees and vegetation on public land. BVSC will assess applications from the general public for the pruning or removal of trees on public land that may pose a risk to human health and safety and the safety of property.

Applications will be assessed, given a rating of priority according to the risk and entered into Council’s maintenance schedule. BVSC will, wherever possible, use remedial actions rather than tree removal to reduce any identified risk or nuisance.

Crown pruning

BVSC does not require approval for crown maintenance works to a maximum of 20% of the canopy in any two year period that is carried out in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4373 – 1996 Pruning of Amenity Trees by an arborist with a minimum qualification of certificate of arboriculture, or equivalent.

However, the lopping of branches (the indiscriminate cutting of branches or stems between branch unions or at internodes on young trees) is unacceptable and the practice is can be in breach of the Tree Preservation Order.

Pollarding is the practice of cutting trees back to just above the same point every 1 to 3 years resulting in the production of multiple shoots. It is acceptable practice under AS 4373. When removing shoots, pollard heads should not be injured and cuts should be made as close to the swollen collars as possible without injuring the collars. BVSC only supports this pruning technique on deciduous species and on species that have been pollarded from an early age and does not permit this practice to be implemented on Australian native vegetation.

BVSC may approve crown modification in accordance with the Australian Standard for the Pruning of Amenity Trees AS 4373 – 1996.

Crown modification may be used to reduce windsail area, increase sunlight through the canopy, improve views through the crown and to provide clearance around structures and services.

  • Image of lopped trees.
    Lopping of trees is not acceptable under any circumstances and the practice is in breach of the Tree Preservation Order.
  • Image of a pollarded plane tree.
    Pollarded plane tree (Platanus spp.). This is common practice in horticultural settings and city streetscapes. This practice should not be carried out on Australian native species particularly Eucalypts (Source: Harris, 1983).

Impacts from Neighbouring Trees

Common Law permits a land-owner to prune a neighbour’s tree where the tree overhangs a common boundary. Pruning is only permitted on the part of the tree that overhangs the property boundary and entering the neighbour’s property to carry out further work is not permitted unless prior consent has been granted by the owner of that property.

Where a tree or vegetation is protected by the Tree Preservation Order, and a permit is sought for pruning, Council may issue consent for work beyond the common boundary in order to comply with AS 4373, conditional on the owner of the tree giving consent to the works. If consent is not granted by the owner, then work must not occur beyond the boundary and it must comply with AS 4373 – 1996 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

Neighbours should negotiate the pruning requirements of a tree prior to any work taking place, including permission to enter the property to undertake necessary tree works and the removal and disposal of branches. In the event that parties cannot resolve disputes, the parties will be directed to appropriate mediation services such as The Dispute Resolution Network, The Community Justice Centre or a Chamber Magistrate. BVSC does not mediate disputes between neighbours and will be involved only for the purpose of administering the Tree Preservation Order.

Replacement Planting

It may be conditional upon consent of tree removal that the site is replanted with appropriate species.


Rate This Page

Share This Page

Explore Our Site