Private Trees

How to apply for works on a private tree?

If you wish to request works on a privately owned tree, please lodge an application for a Private Tree Permit using the NSW planning portal. Council approval is obtained by lodging an application on the NSW Planning Portal.

Camden Council uses electronic lodgement for private tree removal and pruning applications through the NSW Planning Portal

This online service allows applicants to track and streamline the application process.  Applicants must create an account and then lodge their applications. All property owners will be required to provide owners consent.

The portal also has some great step by step guides available on their website including how to set up an account and lodge an application:  NSW Planning Portal 

This is the process that Council recommends you follow:

  • Visit the NSW Planning Portal to lodge your private tree removal or pruning application (see instructions below).
  • Register for a NSW Planning Portal account to start your application.
  • Log in to complete the online application form.
  • For Tree removal or pruning applications you will need to submit a detailed site plan, photographs, owners consent and additionally you can include any Arborist reports, plumbers reports or sewer diagrams you may have.
  • Once we receive your application in its entirety, Council will contact you to arrange payment of fees.
  • If your application is incomplete Council will contact you to request additional information and or decline your application.
  • Once Council is satisfied with the information provided and fees are paid, your application can be lodged.

Anyone wishing to lodge a private tree removal or pruning application will need to establish their own account on the NSW Planning portal.

Common reasons Council will not approve pruning or removal:

  • Pruning or removal for dropping of leaves, bark, sticks, flowers, fruit and sap
  • Pruning or removal to reduce sap and/or bird or bat droppings on cars or dwellings.
  • Unsubstantiated fear of large trees.
  • The removal of sound healthy trees to improve access to solar energy. Where tree pruning may improve solar capture capacity, Council may consider these requests on an individual merit.
  • Bush fire hazard control which has not been approved by Rural or NSW Fire Brigades.
  • Prune for aesthetic purposes.

What trees and vegetation are protected in Camden?

A person must not cut down, fell, uproot, kill, poison, ringbark, burn or otherwise destroy a tree or vegetation without a written permit from Council.

 

  • Is 3 metres or more in height;

  • Has a circumference of 300mm (100mm diameter); 

  • More at a height of 1 metre above natural ground surface; or

  • Has a branch span of 3 metres or more.

If a permit is issued for the removal of a tree or vegetation, up to four (4) replacement trees are required to be planted for every tree removed.

Tree Diagram

What does not require a permit?

A permit is not required in respect of the following;

  • Routine pruning of trees or shrubs that form a continuous hedge;

  • A tree that harbours fruit fly;

  • Any tree identified as a noxious weed (or similar) and includes the following trees;

                           - Privet (Ligustrum sp.);
                           - African Olive (Olea africana);
                           - Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos);
                           - Cocos Palm (Syagrus rhomanzofianum); and
                           - Chínese Celtis (Celtis sinensis).

  • Minor pruning of branches no greater than 50mm diameter provided that:

                           - Pruning is undertaken in a way that does not impact on plant health; and

                            - If the tree is located on a neighbouring property, the permission of the owner has been sought prior to pruning work.

  • Where the Council is satisfied the vegetation is dying or dead and is not required as the habitat of native fauna. Complete the Tree Exemption Form to apply for an exemption. 

  • Where the Council is satisfied the vegetation is a risk to human life or property. Complete the Tree Exemption Form to apply for an exemption. 

Finding the right Arborist?

Council recommends that before you hire an Arborist to prune or remove a tree, you can consider the following tips;

  • Seek quotes for the work from qualified Arborists;

  • Request to see Public Liability and Worker’s Compensation Certificates;

  • Check their qualifications and/or industry memberships. Your tree contractor must be insured and qualified. The minimum standard of Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 3 in Arboriculture is required for carrying out tree works and AQF Level 5 in Arboriculture is required for Hazard, Tree Health and Risk Assessments and Reports.

  • Seek references or recommendations from previous clients; and

  • Agree on the scope of the work you want them to complete so this can be quoted on accurately. 

What if I have a problem with my neighbour’s tree?

In the first instance you should discuss the matter with your neighbour, keeping in mind that tree pruning, or tree removal will require Council approval. Council will accept applications from neighbours provided you have the permission of the owner of the tree. The owner must also sign the application form.

If Council issues an approval permitting tree pruning or tree removal this does not compel the tree owner to carry out such tree work, nor does it imply that you have permission to enter your neighbour’s property to carry out the tree work.

Where the cooperation of your neighbour is not obtained, or the tree dispute can’t be resolved, the matter should be referred to the Community Justice Centre for assistance with mediation. cjc.justice.nsw.gov.au/ or phone 1800 990 777

For disputes that can’t be resolved through mediation you may make application to the Land & Environment Court under the provisions of the Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006. lec.justice.nsw.gov.au

What if I am in a Bush Fire affected area?

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has developed a code of practice for vegetation clearing. The document is called the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice for New South Wales and sets out what clearing activities are permitted within 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Areas.

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing law and Code of Practice is a NSW Government initiative formed in conjunction with the RFS and is not an initiative or policy of Council. Council is unable to provide advice on the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice or the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area. The RFS web page allows you to search for your property using an online tool which will determine if your property is within the entitlement area. RFS Vegetation Clearing Tool.

State Environment Planning Policy 

Tree removal/pruning is determined under Part 2 of the new Biodiversity and Conservation SEPP State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 and Clause 2.4 of Camden Development Control Plan (DCP) 2019. Contact Council’s Urban Tree and Landscape Team on 4645 7777 with assistance in determining if any exemptions apply and work through the appropriate approval process as well as any other requirements relating to your proposal.

You can also access an online navigator developed by the NSW Office of Local Government to assist applicants and councils to work through which approval pathway applies to a development. 

Approval pathways for tree removal, tree pruning and vegetation clearing:

Tree removal diagram

What does the new Biodiversity and Conservation SEPP mean?

The new Biodiversity and Conservation SEPP was part of the NSW SEPP consolidation project. State environmental planning policies have been consolidated to align with themed focus areas to make the planning system more user friendly. The SEPP regulates planning rules and controls for the clearing of native vegetation in NSW that is not linked to development requiring consent. Generally, when clearing is part of development requiring consent it will be assessed as part of the development assessment process and may also require further assessment and approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Fact sheet on the new consolidation here.

In cases where a proposed development is likely to have any biodiversity impacts on threatened species or threatened ecological communities, or exceeds the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) threshold or occurs on land identified on the Biodiversity Values Map (BVM) a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) will need to be prepared.

You can use these links to find out more about the BOS thresholds, the Biodiversity Values Map, and use the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold (BMAT) Tool.

The new Biodiversity and Conservation SEPP was part of the NSW SEPP consolidation project. State environmental planning policies have been consolidated to align with themed focus areas to make the planning system more user friendly. The SEPP regulates planning rules and controls for the clearing of native vegetation in NSW that is not linked to development requiring consent. Generally, when clearing is part of development requiring consent it will be assessed as part of the development assessment process and may also require further assessment and approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

In cases where a proposed development is likely to have any biodiversity impacts on threatened species or threatened ecological communities, or exceeds the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) threshold or occurs on land identified on the Biodiversity Values Map (BVM) a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) will need to be prepared.

You can use these links to find out more about the BOS thresholds, the Biodiversity Values Map, and use the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold (BMAT) Tool.