Tree assessment guidelines to prune or remove trees

Tree assessment guidelines to prune or remove trees on private property and Council management land.

Council's Urban Forest Policy(PDF, 657KB) requires a focus on retaining and protecting trees, unless there are strong reasons for removal.

The following are NOT considered reasons for tree removal or pruning

1.1 There is substantial evidence the tree is healthy and has no major structural issues. 
1.2  Flower, leaf, sap or fruit fall.
1.3  Increasing natural light.
1.4  Enhancing views. 
1.5  Proposed development. Tree removal is considered under the development assessment process and not in a Tree Removal Application Form. 
1.6  Reduce bird or animal droppings. 
1.7  Lifting of driveways, paths and paving where there are alternatives to solve problems and retain the tree. 
1.8  Insects and animals eg. possums jumping from tree to roof or cockatoos damaging the property or scale insects causing sooty mould or spiders in the tree. 
1.9  Minor damage to fences, roof structures, outbuildings, garden structures, walls. 
1.10  Damage to underground services such as sewer and water pipes and where there are alternatives to solve problems and retain the tree. 
1.11  Fence construction. 
1.12  Tree does not suit the existing or proposed landscaping. 
1.13  Unsubstantiated fear of tree failure. 
1.14  Tree removal for bushfire hazard reduction, unless identified by NSW Rural Fire Services as a bushfire threat. 
1.15  Tree too large or high. 
1.16  Pruning to reduce height (hedges excluded). 
1.17  Termite infestation where the structural stability of the tree is not affected. 

The following may be considered reasons for tree removal or pruning

2.1  Where there is likelihood of tree failure and remedial actions are not feasible or practical.  An arborist’s report and testing may be required as supporting documentation. The report must comply with Council’s report guidelines that are available on the Council’s trees page
2.2  Where the tree is causing substantial and continuing structural damage to a dwelling or substantial structure (excluding footpaths, retaining walls, driveways and fences) and remedial actions are not feasible or practical. A structural engineering assessment may be required. 
2.3 Where the tree is in poor condition or structure, or declining health with a life expectancy of less than 5 years. There are no tree management options. An arborist’s report and testing may be required. 
2.4  A tree located in an unsuitable position where its future growth will result in major damage to a dwelling or substantial structure and there are no practical options to prevent damage. 
2.5  Pruning to improve tree’s health and structure. 
2.6  Where the tree is proven to be directly causing substantial ill health, such as severe allergies. This must be supported by specialist medical evidence linking the health condition to the tree and where all other reasonable management options have been explored.