Tree Lopping, Removal and Preservation


With the introduction of the new Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015 (the Scheme) on 1 July 2015 there are changes to the way in which tree removal requests from property owners are handled.

In general, under the Scheme no permit is required to lop or remove a tree unless it involves:

  • a place or precinct listed in the Historic Heritage Code;
  • an area that is subject to the Natural Assets Code;
  • the removal of any threatened vegetation; or
  • on land located within 30 metres of a wetland or watercourse.

Natural Assets Code (NAC)

The purpose of the NAC is to protect areas of significant native vegetation and bushland habitat that contribute to important vistas or maintain habitat and corridors for indigenous fauna.

Even if the property is covered by the NAC there are further exemptions to the requirement to obtain a permit to remove a native tree, for example the removal of dead vegetation and bushfire management.  The exemptions are listed in section 6.3 of the Scheme – Vegetation planting, clearing or modification. A Development Application must be made if the exemptions do not apply.

Historic Heritage Code (HHC)

The purpose of the HHC is to conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places, precincts and landscapes.

In this context a tree, garden or landscape may be an element that contributes to the heritage significance of the property.  In circumstances when vegetation specifically forms part of the heritage description a Development Application will be required. 

The properties that are identified in the Planning Scheme's heritage register are listed in section 13.0 of the Scheme and shown on the Planning Scheme maps.

Other Requirements

In some situations it may not be possible to remove a tree even if it is allowed for in the general provisions of the Planning Scheme.  This would apply to properties that have:

  • permit conditions that prevent or restricts the removal of trees;
  • a covenant that prevents or restricts the removal of trees; or
  • a Part V Agreement condition that prevents or restricts the removal of trees.

Also it may be necessary to check if the property or part of it is subject to other government legislation or policy provisions; for example Regional Forest Agreement or Threatened Species Protection Act.

Other Information

Exotic or trees that are not native to Australia are not protected under the Planning Scheme unless they have heritage value, that is the HHC applies to the property.

Generally, most people that live in a residential area will not need to apply to Council for a permit to remove a tree or to lop tree limbs from their property. 

The procedure for dealing with customer requests in respect of trees on a neighbour's property or Council land remains unchanged - see below for details.

For all enquiries or requests to remove a tree on your property please contact a planning officer. 

On Neighbour’s Property

If you propose that a tree that is on neighbouring property be removed, then as this tree is the responsibility of your neighbour the first step is to contact them regarding your issue.  If they are agreeable they must follow the same steps as above. 

If your neighbour does not want the tree removed or lopped, Council will only become involved in the matter if there is significant evidence that the tree is a risk to people using public places, for example dead tree limbs overhanging a footpath. Otherwise it is a civil matter between you and your neighbour.

Management of Trees on Council Land

If you consider a tree on Council land to be either dangerous, unhealthy or simply in need of some maintenance then please contact Council.  The tree will be assessed by either one of Council's qualified horticulturists or a professional Arborist.

Council's Tree Policy provides generally for:

  • the planning, planting and maintenance of trees on Council land; 
  • the assessment criteria for removal and replacement of trees on Council land; and

Download the policy for Management of Trees on Council Land

Download tree felling application form

For further information please contact Council on 6217 9500.