Trees

Old Government House and tree lined street

Trees play an important role in the ‘greening’ of our city. They make our surroundings pleasant, provide relief from summer heat and reduce glare from pavement. They also increase the value of real estate, reduce stormwater runoff and improve the quality of the air we breathe.

It is important to carefully manage this precious resource and to preserve the existing urban forest within our City. 

Before you prune or remove a tree from your residential or business property you may be required to apply for permission from the City of Parramatta Council. The controls regarding the pruning and removal of trees on private and Public land are found within Part 5.4 (Preservation of Trees and Vegetation) of Parramatta Council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) 2011 

As a result of the State Government’s council amalgamations in May 2016, a number of different DCPs now apply to the City of Parramatta Local Government Area. Until such time that a combined DCP is announced for the new City of Parramatta Local Government Area, former residents of Auburn, The Hills, Holroyd or Hornsby Council areas are subject to the relevant tree protection controls provided by your former Local Government Area. You can view these controls in full via the relevant link below: 

PROTECTED TREES

Tree protection controls for most of the City of Parramatta Council Local Government Area generally apply to any tree or palm, whether it is a native or an exotic species that:

  • has a height equal to or exceeding 5 metres 
  • any tree or mangrove vegetation located on public land, irrespective of size
  • forms part of a heritage item, or that is within a heritage conservation area 
  • forms part of an Aboriginal object, or that is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance
  • is listed on the NSW Heritage Register.

If a tree is identified as part of an ecological community listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016  then an “Assessment of Significance” must be prepared by a qualified ecologist and submitted to Council with your application. 

Former residents of Auburn, The Hills, Holroyd or Hornsby Council areas are currently subject to the relevant tree protection controls provided by your former Local Government Area which vary to the control described above.

Former residents from Hornsby Council should be aware that a draft amendment is due to go before Council in early 2018.

OBTAINING A TREE PERMIT

If you want to prune or remove a tree you will need to submit a Tree Permit Application form. Additional information such as an arboricultural report may be required to support your application for tree removal. 

Applications can be made by all owners of the land on which the tree works are to be carried out or by any person with written consent of the owners.

Tree Permit Application forms will not be accepted if the tree being requested to be removed forms part of a development application or to make way for a complying development certificate application. In such instances, you will need to include the trees required to be removed in your plans and/or documents submitted with your Development Application.  

The application form must be completed and submitted to Council together with the appropriate fee.

Applicable fees for Tree Permit Applications are:

  • 1 Tree - $122.00
  • Each additional tree - $100.00
    (A discount of 25% of the total application fee is available for holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card issued by Centrelink or a Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veterans' Affairs).

Lodgement is available via Council’s Online Portal https://onlineservices.parracity.nsw.gov.au or in person at Council’s Customer contact Centre. 

Approved works must be completed within two years from the date of consent.

YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S TREE 

You generally need to apply to the Council before you prune overhanging branches from your neighbour's tree, however, we encourage you to check the exemptions contained within the relevant Development Control Plan for your area as sometimes pruning of overhanging trees can be undertaken without Council approval. 

Permission from your neighbour is not required provided you have a permit and you do not need to access their property to undertake tree works. Council does recommend you let them know as a courtesy before you want to prune their trees.  

The application form must be completed and submitted to Council together with the appropriate fee. Approved works must be completed within two years from the date of consent.

EXEMPT TREES

Certain trees do not require a permit or development application approval for removal or pruning.  It is recommended you confirm your tree is exempt by reviewing the exemption provisions contained in the relevant DCP for your area.

Exemptions do not apply where any tree:

  • is located on a site classified as being part of a vulnerable, threatened or endangered ecological community or provides or has the potential to provide habitat for native fauna or fauna classified as vulnerable or threatened under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW) or the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
  • forms part of a heritage item or place
  • is within a heritage conservation area
  • forms part of an Aboriginal object
  • is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance
  • is on public land.

OFFSET PROGRAM

When trees are removed, they should be replaced on the site with another tree however sometimes circumstances don’t allow this to happen. In these cases, a financial contribution will be required to be paid to support public tree planting. 

REVIEWING A DECISION

If you are dissatisfied with a decision Section 12 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 [NSW] gives you the right to appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 3 months after the date on which you receive the Determination.

BLOCKED PIPE OR SEWER

Tree roots that have entered a pipe and caused an immediate blockage can be removed. You will need to apply for a Tree Permit Application Form to remove the roots surrounding the pipe or if necessary, the entire tree. A sewer diagram and a comprehensive report prepared by a licensed plumber will enable Council's assessment process to be expedited.

You may prune or remove a Populus sp. (Poplar), Salix sp. (Willow), Cinnamomum camphora (Camphor Laurel) and Liquidambar styraciflua (Liquidambar) without consent where the trunk of such a tree is located within 5m of any sewer.

SUGGESTED CONTRACTORS 

We recommend you only use an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 3 qualified arborist to undertake any tree works. Look for a local registered arborist who is qualified and has the appropriate insurance.

For more detailed information on selecting an arborist go to the Safework NSW website:
 
http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/media/publications/health-and-safety/hiring-tree-work-contractors-fact-sheet

To locate a qualified and insured arborist contact:

Arboriculture Australia 
w: arboriculture.org.au 
p: 1300 664 374 
e: enquiries@arboriculture.org.au

Tree Contractors Association:
w: tcaa.com.au 
p: 1300 660 379 
e: admin@tcaa.com.au