Pruning and Removing Trees

Under Part C.9 Vegetation Management of Willoughby Development Control Plan(WDCP)(PDF, 408KB)  there are restrictions on which plants and trees you can prune, remove or transplant on your own property. If you wish to prune or remove a tree you must first submit a Vegetation Management application form and receive Council approval.

The Vegetation Management Guidelines(PDF, 1MB)  provides guidance on the approval processes and requirements involved in the management and clearing of vegetation and provides a guide to the management of both public and private vegetation and the systems and processes required to manage these in the Willoughby LGA.

A permit from Council is required to clear vegetation and prune or remove a tree if:

  • The tree has the following dimensions:
    • a height exceeding 4 metres, or
    • a trunk girth (circumference) exceeding 600 millimetres measured at 1.4 metres above ground level, or
    • a crown spread exceeding 3 metres
  • The tree is a locally indigenous species that is representative of the original vegetation of the area
  • Any vegetation that is located within a defined wildlife corridor or has known wildlife habitat value
  • The tree is visually prominent from the street or surrounding properties and makes a positive contribution to the visual character of the locality

Exemptions to requiring a permit are listed in Part C.9 Vegetation Management of Willoughby Development Control Plan(WDCP)(PDF, 408KB) 

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Replacement Trees

Where Council consents to the removal of an existing tree it will require the replanting of trees at a rate of 3:1.

Replacement trees are to be cared for by the land owner until established to a size which is covered by the vegetation controls.

Tree Reports

An arboriculture report may be needed for applications to clear vegetation.

Arboriculture reports will only be accepted when prepared by a Consultant Arborist with a minimum qualification of Level 5 under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF Level 5). The company preparing the report shall also not be financially affiliated or have a business relationship with a tree removal/pruning company. All reports must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines established within Australian Standard AS 4373 (2007) Pruning of Amenity Trees and AS 4970 (2009) Protection of Trees on Development Sites.

Further information is available in the Vegetation Management Guidelines(PDF, 1MB)