Tree Vandalism

The management and preservation of all trees within Willoughby is governed by the WLEP 2012 Tree and Vegetation Preservation. Tree pruning and/or removals are only permitted with authorisation by Council. Vandalism, damage and poisoning of trees are specifically prohibited acts. Penalties are in place for breaches of the WLEP 2012 Tree and Vegetation Preservation.

The following procedures for investigating instances of tree vandalism in Willoughby City have been adopted by the council:

  1. Letter boxing the houses within vision of the tree(s) requesting information
  2. Erection for a minimum period of 60 days, of a large sign or banner indicating that the tree has been subjected to tree vandalism and offering rewards (up to $10,000) for information leading to a successful prosecution
  3. The tree is assessed as to the next appropriate action; if the tree is in bushland, it is left as part of the forest ‘decay’ cycle. If it is located in a public place where a public liability may arise i.e. park or street verge, then suitable pruning of outer branches may occur to make the tree more structurally ‘safe’ and the tree is left in situ
  4. Replace severely damaged trees with advanced trees where appropriate
  5. A media release is prepared
  6. Where sufficient information is obtained, progress the investigation in co-ordination with legal advice

Any persons found guilty of Tree Vandalism may be liable to a fine of up to $1.1 million in the Land and Environment Court, or on the spot fines may be issued.