If you wish to remove or prune a tree protected by Council's Tree Preservation Order (TPO) 2006 (PDF) and which is located on private property, you will need to submit to Council a current Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF).
All applications to prune or remove trees must have the consent of all the owner/s of the property on which the tree stands or must be accompanied by a full, current copy of the legal instrument that permits the nominee to act on the owner/s behalf.
Application forms and fees are updated on the first of July each year. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they have the most current form.
You must advise Council if the property is subject to a current Development Application or Development Consent that affects the tree. If you wish to carry out works to a tree contrary to a condition of a current Development Consent, you will need to lodge a Section 96 application form (PDF) to request an amendment to the conditions of consent, before the proposed work will be considered.
If the tree is a Heritage Item or located within a Heritage Garden, identified in Council's Local Environmental Plan 1995 (LEP), it is still possible to apply to prune the tree using the standard Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF). When requesting removal of a heritage listed tree you are strongly advised to seek advise from Council's Duty Planner as you may be required to lodge a development application. All Heritage items are listed in the Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995 - Schedule 3: Heritage Items (PDF).
If the tree is growing on your property you will need to submit to Council a completed Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF). All the legal owners of the property must sign the application form and the form must be accompanied by the relevant fees as stated on the form.
If you are the tenant of a property, you will need to obtain the written consent of the property owner before lodging a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF). The application form must be accompanied by the relevant fees as stated on the form. Managing agents are not able to sign on behalf of the owner of the property.
If the tree is growing on your neighbour’s property you may still lodge a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF); however, all the owners of the property on which the tree stands must sign the application before it will be considered by Council.
Council does not mediate disputes between neighbours regarding trees. Conflict over the management of private trees in neighbouring properties is the responsibility of both neighbours to resolve. Disputes may be settled with the assistance of a Community Justice Centre aide. The contact phone number for the Community Justice Centre is 1800 990 777.
Where attempts for mediation between parties has failed, the opportunity exists for an owner of land to apply to the NSW Land and Environment Court, under the provisions of the Tree (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 (The Act), for an order to remedy, restrain or prevent damage to the owner’s property, or to prevent injury, as a consequence of a tree situated on adjoining land.
Where the court is satisfied that the tree which is the subject of the application has caused, is causing, or is likely to cause damage in the near future or poses a risk of injury to a person, the court has jurisdiction to make a range of orders. These orders are designed to remedy or prevent damage, or prevent injury to a person, and may involve the trimming or removal of the tree, installation of root barriers and other such action.
If the tree is growing on property owned by Strata or Company title, the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF) must be signed by an authorised officer under common seal. The application must also include the minutes from a meeting of the Body Corporate or Executive Committee at which the listed works were approved.
Where trees or shrubs from private property overhang a public walkway or carriageway causing obstruction, damage or potential damage to the public, Council may serve an Order on the tree owner to prune or remove the offending vegetation. In some cases Council may undertake to carry out tree works and charge the property owner to recover the costs.
To request that Council investigate private trees or shrubs overhanging public space please contact our Customer Service Department on 9391 7000, or email email@example.com.
Upon receipt of your completed Tree Preservation Order (TPO) Application (PDF), a Council Tree Officer will be assigned to process your request. A site inspection, to assess the tree and the merits of your application, will be required before a determination can be made. It will also be necessary to notify the owners in adjoining properties of your application prior to making a determination.
When assessing an application, the criteria to be taken into consideration may include:
At the end of the assessment process the Council Tree Officer will make a determination in writing which will be forwarded to the applicant (and owner of the tree where applicable). If approval is granted for the proposed works, or part thereof, the approved works must NOT be commenced prior to receipt of the written determination.
If an application is refused, or part refused, you may lodge an application for review (PDF) of the determination. Additional information not available at the time of the original assessment must be provided with any application for review. This additional information would normally take the form of an arborist and/or engineering report. An application for review must be lodged within 12 months of the date of issue of the original determination. Fees for a review of determination are 50% of the original TPO application fee.
Council does not carry out approved private tree removal or pruning works. It is the responsibility of the applicant to organise for approved works to be undertaken. As a condition of approval, applicants may be required to engage the services of a qualified arborist trained to prune trees to Australian Standards. A list of qualified arborists can be found on the Arboriculture Australia or Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists websites.
In some cases, a permit for tree removal may include a condition requiring you to plant a replacement tree. The condition may specify the size and species of tree to be planted. Your local nursery will have information and advice on appropriate replacement planting and ongoing management of your trees and shrubs.
Woollahra Municipal Council, in conjunction with a number of other local Councils has produced a brochure called Local Native Plants for Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (PDF). Copies of the brochure are available from our Customer Service Department at Council Chambers.
When considering replanting options, the following points should be taken into consideration: