Useful Information

Guide to Northern Beaches Council Tree Management

Note: If you remove, damage or lop a tree without Council’s consent, you may be liable for a fine of up to $1.1 million if prosecuted in the Land and Environment Court.

Trees are of vital importance in improving the visual quality of an area. The predominance of tree cover both in bushland and urban areas forms an integral part of the character of Pittwater.

Council consent IS required to:

  • Prune a tree by greater than 10% of the foliage area.
  • Remove any tree not otherwise listed in the exempt species table.
  • Substantially alter the soil level around the trunk or within three (3) meters of the trunk of a tree.

Council MAY give consent to remove a tree where:

  • A tree is diseased or dying.
  • A tree is causing, or is likely to cause substantial property damage (to houses building etc).
  • A tree is significantly misshapen or causing substantial overshadowing.
  • Assessment will be made on the removal of a tree/trees following the submission of a Tree Removal Application Form.

Council will NOT approve the following:

  • Tree removal/lopping without owner’s signature/owners agent on application.
  • Removal of trees for views.
  • Removal of trees for solar access, leaf, fruit or sap drop, bird or bat droppings, damage to sewer pipes/built structures unless all engineering alternatives have been considered.
  • Removal of healthy and stable trees.
  • Pruning of trees contrary to Australian Standards 4373.
  • Any pruning work outside what a particular species will tolerate, eg figs if pruned by more than 10% can be predisposed to sunburn.
  • Tree work for emotive reasons.
  • Removal of trees inhibiting grass or garden growth.
  • Removal of trees for allergies unless tree can be medically linked to allergy.
  • Alteration of soil levels within the drip line of a tree.
  • Removal of trees found to be causing damage to minor ancillary structures such as footpaths and driveways.
  • Requests for topping of trees.

Council consent is not required to:

  • Remove a declared noxious weed or tree listed in the exempt species table.
  • Prune a tree by up to 10% of the foliage area within a period of not less than 12 months since any prior pruning.
  • Remove any tree harbouring fruit fly or grown for its edible fruit.

Additional Information

Northern Beaches Council