Trees on your property

Council’s commitment to maintaining our tree canopy and supporting the well-being of our community and natural environment means, if you wish to prune or remove a tree, in most cases you will need to apply for a permit.

If a permit is required, your application will be assessed by one of Council’s qualified arborists.

Where a permit may be required

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
    • A trunk girth (circumference) exceeding 600 millimetres measured at 1.4 metres above ground level
    • A crown spread exceeding 3 metres.
  • The tree is a locally native species that is representative of the original vegetation of the area
  • The vegetation is 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.

Where a permit may not be required

Some circumstances where a permit may not be required include:

  • Selective pruning for up to a total of 10% of an individual tree’s crown over a 5 year period
  • Any vegetation declared a weed under the Biosecurity Act 2015. A list of weeds can be found in Schedule 3 Weeds of the Biodiversity Regulation 2017
  • Pruning or removal of recognised horticultural varieties of fruit trees grown for fruit production
  • Clearing of vegetation or removal of trees lawfully conducted in accordance within the bushfire 10/50 vegetation clearing rules
  • Removal of deadwood.

Residents are advised to keep records of any pruning works carried out in order to prove the works were exempt should it be needed.

More information on which plants and trees you can prune, remove or transplant on your property is available in Part G - Vegetation Management of Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP).

Applying for a permit

To apply for a permit, for pruning or tree removal on private property, please complete our application form, fees apply.

Please note:

  • Property owner’s consent is required on all applications.
  • Where an application for tree removal is approved, replacement planting is required at a ratio of 3:1.  
  • All approved Vegetation Management Applications must be displayed on the front boundary of the property 72 hours prior to and during the course of the works being undertaken.
  • Applications to clear vegetation will be displayed on Council’s website for public comment.
  • Applications can be viewed on Council’s website using the DA Tracker.

Vegetation Management Applications (VMA) were previously called Tree Vegetation Permit Applications (TVPA).

Apply for a permit

Tree reports

Arborist reports are a requirement with applications to clear vegetation as part of a Development Application but are optional when submitting a Vegetation Management Application (VMA/TVPA). An arborist report may also be required with a request for a review of a determination of a VMA.

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