Blue Mountains City Council

Tree Management and Removal

Updated processes for Tree Removal Permit Applications


Do you need to lodge an application to remove a tree or other vegetation? If so, some of the requirements for tree removal applications and the manner in which applications are assessed will be changing over the coming months.


These changes are taking place in response to new policy and regulations relating to vegetation clearing (including tree removal and pruning) introduced by the NSW Government, known as the Vegetation SEPP (The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017).


If you are seeking to remove a tree in any residential, commercial, recreational or environmental zone of the Blue Mountains local government area, the tree removal permit application process as set out within DCP2015 (Part C5) will remain unchanged under most circumstances (see information on current tree removal application requirements below).


All information on vegetation and trees identified as prescribed and exempt within the DCP remains current (https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/files/Part%20C.pdf).

 
The removal of trees and other vegetation within heritage conservation areas, heritage properties, land on which an Aboriginal object is located or land that is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance, will continue to be processed under the tree permit system if the works have a minor impact on heritage significance. If the impact is not minor, a development application will be required. See section C5.6 of DCP2015 for guidance on what constitutes ‘minor’ works.


What changes have been introduced?


• The assessment of proposed clearing of native vegetation (including trees) has changed in certain circumstances, specifically where large scale tree or vegetation removal is proposed. Details of when and where this may apply may be found within the SEPP instrument, available at the NSW legislation website. https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/EPIs/2017-454.pdf.
• Native tree and other vegetation removal in rural zones is now regulated via the Local Land Services Act. Tree removal permits issued by Council are only required for exotic species in these zones. Information regarding the Local Land Services Act can be found at http://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/sustainable-land-management/land-management.
• A 28 day timeframe from lodgement to determination will now apply to tree removal applications, unless Council identifies that additional information is required in which case, Council may stop the clock on the assessment of the application.


Updated and electronically available application forms will also be made available shortly. These will identify the type of information needed to be submitted in support of your Tree Removal Application.


The information available via Council’s website will be updated over the coming months to reflect changes brought about by the new Vegetation SEPP. In the interim, further information on the Vegetation SEPP can be found at NSW Planning and Environment website http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/vegetationSEPP.


Council’s Tree Management Officer can be contacted by calling Council’s Katoomba office on 4780 5000.

 
Tree removal applications


An application is required to remove or prune a tree when the tree is identified in DCP 2015 C5.2. as a Prescribed tree.


A prescribed tree is:


• A long lived woody perennial plant with one or relatively few main stems, being of any species whether indigenous, exotic or introduced and that is 4m or more in height and/or has a crown spread of more than 4m, or
• Any mallee formed Eucalyptus species, irrespective of size, with such a tree having multiple leader form seldom exceeding five metres in height, originating from a lignotuber at or near ground level.


An application is not required to remove or prune a tree which is identified in DCP 2015 C5.3. as an Exempt tree. The DCP 2015 contains a list of exempt tree species and describes circumstances under which trees are exempt from requiring a development consent or permit. To check if a tree is exempt, view the extract from the DCP, Part 5 Tree and vegetation preservation, which may be downloaded from the menu to the right hand side of the page.


Note: The Vegetation SEPP Part 2 list other circumstances trees are exempt from requiring a development consent or permit, and the DCP describes the type of evidence that you may need to retain where a tree is pruned or removed under the exemption provisions.


Submission requirements are outlined on the tree removal application form, which may be downloaded from the menu to the right hand side of the page.


The fees for a tree removal / pruning application are $110.00 for up to 3 trees, $130.00 between 4 and 6 trees, $150 between 7 and 10 trees, $180 for 11 and 20 trees, and $230 for 21 trees and over, per property. The permit is issued for a 12 month period.

10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme


The Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Act 2014, which took effect in August 2015, was introduced by the NSW Government to permit clearing of trees and other vegetation without a permit in certain areas.


Prior to lodging an application for tree removal within 10 metres of an external wall of a dwelling, high-risk facility or farm shed, it is recommended that you check the website to determine if you are within the 10/50 entitlement area, and if the proposed clearing is permissible under the code.

To check if you are within a 10/50 entitlement area and to view the current 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice, refer to the NSW RFS website https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/1050-vegetation-clearing.


Downloads (available on the right)


• Blue Mountains DCP Extract: Trees and Vegetation Preservation
• Tree Removal Application ( 143.8kb)
• Street Tree Masterplan: Cover & Contents ( 522.4kb)
• Street Tree Masterplan: Section 1 - About Trees ( 35,962.6kb)
• Street Tree Masterplan: Section 2 - Town Strategies ( 5,998.8kb)
• Street Tree Masterplan: Section 3 - Town Species Maps ( 1,610.8kb)