Exempt tree works - Vegetation SEPP

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The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (SEPP Vegetation) provides two exemptions where trees can be removed without a permit, provided Council is satisfied. Clear and relevant photos are required to support the removal of the tree/s under this section. The following templates are to be fully completed along with the required photographs. You are not required to send the information to Council; rather you should keep the completed document and supporting information for a minimum of 12 months.

These completed documents aid the property owner by providing a defensible position in the event of Council, or other Government departments, undertake a compliance investigation into reports of illegal tree pruning or removal.

Authorised under s.60O of the Local Land Services Act 2013

See Appendix 2 - Clearing Authorised Under Other Legislation or under Part 5B (Private Native Forestry) of that Act

View the Native Vegatation Regulatory Map Viewer to see if your property is covered under Section 60 (LLS) Local Land Services Act 2013.

Contact Local Land Services where your land is shown on the map to be covered under LLS.

Risk to Human Life or Property

Council's DCP defines this 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. Where this cannot be clearly demonstrated then an application for a tree permit would be required.

Council will be satisfied by the resident and Trade arborist (minimum qualification AQF5) completing the Exempt Tree Works Form Risk to Human Life or Property. The template requires a map to indicate the location of the tree in relation to the dwelling or other structures. Photos are also required to demonstrate that the tree was an imminent risk to 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 1300 463 954 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.

Removal of trees that Council is satisfied is dying or dead, and is not required as habitat for native animals

This exemption applies as defined in Council's DCP where:

  • a dead tree: being where the biological function of the tree has ceased, no leaves are present and there is visible evidence of trunk, root plate and canopy desiccation, or
  • a dying tree: being a tree which demonstrates reduced growth rates, sparse foliage and reduced response to damage or stress over subsequent growing seasons, and
  • where the tree is not required for habitat for native animals.

Note: This exemption cannot be used where trees are required as habitat for native animals. This will include, but not limited to, hollows in trunks or branches.

Council will be satisfied by the resident and Trade arborist (minimum qualification AQF5) completing the Exempt Tree Works Dead or Dying .The template requires a map to indicate the location of the tree in relation to the dwelling or other structures. Photos are also required to demonstrate that the tree was dead or dying, and that the tree was not habitat for native animals. Where this cannot be clearly demonstrated then an application for a tree permit would be required.

Photos are required to support either exemption above. The photos are to show:

  • the whole tree in context, showing relationship to dwellings, other trees or structures, and
  • clear images of the damaged sections of the tree, and
  • clear images to demonstrate the sudden change to the trees structure, and that it poses an immediate risk to life or property, or
  • that the tree is dead or dying and that the tree was not habitat for native animals.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (SEPP Vegetation) provides two exemptions where trees can be removed without a permit, provided Council is satisfied. Clear and relevant photos are required to support the removal of the tree/s under this section. The following templates are to be fully completed along with the required photographs. You are not required to send the information to Council; rather you should keep the completed document and supporting information for a minimum of 12 months.

These completed documents aid the property owner by providing a defensible position in the event of Council, or other Government departments, undertake a compliance investigation into reports of illegal tree pruning or removal.

Authorised under s.60O of the Local Land Services Act 2013

See Appendix 2 - Clearing Authorised Under Other Legislation or under Part 5B (Private Native Forestry) of that Act

View the Native Vegatation Regulatory Map Viewer to see if your property is covered under Section 60 (LLS) Local Land Services Act 2013.

Contact Local Land Services where your land is shown on the map to be covered under LLS.

Risk to Human Life or Property

Council's DCP defines this 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. Where this cannot be clearly demonstrated then an application for a tree permit would be required.

Council will be satisfied by the resident and Trade arborist (minimum qualification AQF5) completing the Exempt Tree Works Form Risk to Human Life or Property. The template requires a map to indicate the location of the tree in relation to the dwelling or other structures. Photos are also required to demonstrate that the tree was an imminent risk to 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 ( PDF version) 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 1300 463 954 to ensure the form is lodged quickly and the tree inspectors are notified.

Where the risk is not imminent a Private Tree Works Application ( PDF version) will need to be lodged.

Removal of trees that Council is satisfied is dying or dead, and is not required as habitat for native animals

This exemption applies as defined in Council's DCP where:

  • a dead tree: being where the biological function of the tree has ceased, no leaves are present and there is visible evidence of trunk, root plate and canopy desiccation, or
  • a dying tree: being a tree which demonstrates reduced growth rates, sparse foliage and reduced response to damage or stress over subsequent growing seasons, and
  • where the tree is not required for habitat for native animals.

Note: This exemption cannot be used where trees are required as habitat for native animals. This will include, but not limited to, hollows in trunks or branches.

Council will be satisfied by the resident and Trade arborist (minimum qualification AQF5) completing the Exempt Tree Works Dead or Dying .The template requires a map to indicate the location of the tree in relation to the dwelling or other structures. Photos are also required to demonstrate that the tree was dead or dying, and that the tree was not habitat for native animals. Where this cannot be clearly demonstrated then an application for a tree permit would be required.

Photos are required to support either exemption above. The photos are to show:

  • the whole tree in context, showing relationship to dwellings, other trees or structures, and
  • clear images of the damaged sections of the tree, and
  • clear images to demonstrate the sudden change to the trees structure, and that it poses an immediate risk to life or property, or
  • that the tree is dead or dying and that the tree was not habitat for native animals.
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Last updated : Tue 10 Sep 2019