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Trees and vegetation
Council permission may be required to prune or remove trees. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and regulations before you start work.

The Central Coast is known and loved for the abundant, diverse bushland and natural environment.

Trees and vegetation on private land, form an integral part of the local atmosphere and appropriately managing these contributes to the protection of our wildlife, biodiversity, and liveability of the Central Coast. At times, trees on private land will require pruning or removal and, where possible, replacement with suitable species. The following information provides the process that is to be followed in each circumstance.

In 2021 the State Government introduced a new State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 , which replaced the clauses relating to trees in Council's LEP.  The Central Coast Council Development Control Plan 2022 (DCP) is enacted by State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conversation) and reflects its requirements.

On 23 February 2021, Council adopted a new policy to manage tree and vegetation vandalism that ensures a consistent approach to the management of vandalism of trees and other vegetation on public land. The policy was updated following feedback from the community late last year, it reinforces our commitment to protecting our natural environment and gives us a range of tools, including education and enforcement, to manage unlawful damage to tress and vegetation.
This information is designed to ensure residents are directed to the correct agency to assess their vegetation matter, or ensuring the correct form is completed. This will require some checking by residents however the links provided should assist in undertaking these checks.

Private trees

A private tree is any tree on land that is not under Council or other Government control or management. Council has a range of control measures designed to protect our local environment. These must be considered prior to undertaking any activity to or around trees on your property.

Central Coast Council currently outlines requirements and assessment criteria regarding private tree management across the Central Coast LGA.  State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 is the legislative basis for Central Coast Council's DCP Chapter (2022) 3.5 Tree and Vegetation Management.

Do you have concerns with a neighbours tree?

The Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 was enacted in 2006 to resolve neighbour disputes regarding trees, thus removing Local Government (Council) from the role of mediator or adjudicator for these matters. The options available to residents in this circumstance are:

1.    Discuss concerns with your neighbour and seek agreement regarding pruning or removal of the tree having regard to the following options:

•    Council defines a tree that proposes a risk to human life or property as a tree with imminent (clear and immediate) potential to harm human health, life or that can damage property, as a result of a sudden change to the stability of the tree through structural failure, either above or below ground. Trees that meet this exemption will have obvious structural issues that can be easily demonstrated. The process of pruning and or removal of a tree can be undertaken by the landowner(s) and Trade arborist (minimum qualification AQF5) by completing the Exempt Tree Works Form Risk to Human Life or Property.

Where the risk is imminent and the resident can demonstrate they have been unable to engage an AQF level 5 Arborist within a reasonable time frame, then an urgent Tree Works Application can be made to Council using the standard Private Tree Works Application and selecting Imminent Risk.

A statement is required on the application to demonstrate attempts to contact a consulting arborist and must include all consultant names, contact details, dates contacted and response received. The application is to include clear photos wherever possible to demonstrate the tree has suffered structural failure. The provision of clear photos of the failed tree will assist Council in providing a rapid assessment and response. Contact Council on 02 4306 7900 to ensure the form is lodged quickly and the tree inspectors are notified.

•    Where the risk is not imminent, a Private Tree Works Application will need to be lodged.

Council can grant permission for the pruning of overhanging branches on a property without the consent of the owner of a tree, however, only the owner of the tree can give permission for a trees removal.

If you cannot locate the owner to discuss your concerns, then you can request their details by completing Councils Property Ownership Request Form.

2.    Seek mediation through the Community Justice Centre on 1800 990 777 who provide a free service to help resolve matters. For more information about this, visit  Community Justice Centres.

3.    For disputes that are unable to be resolved, the Land and Environment Court of NSW (Trees and Hedges) may be able to assist, in accordance with the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) ACT 2006. The resident is not required to attend court in these cases, rather a Court appointed commissioner (who is a highly experienced arborist) will attend the site and meet with both parties and provide a ruling on the matter.

If a tree poses an immediate danger to a person or property, please contact State Emergency Services on 132 500. 

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