The majority of trees and vegetation within Albury, including those located on private land are protected under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non- Rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP). The vegetation SEPP regulates proposed tree and vegetation clearing that is not associated with a development application but still requires a permit from Council. This permit is called a Vegetation Removal Permit.
For all tree and vegetation removal associated with a development – (i.e construction of a dwelling) you will need to include the tree removal details in your development application.
Do you want to do work on your tree?
Please read and comply with the following notes before you complete a Vegetation Removal Permit (VRP) application.
You can remove trees without a permit in the following circumstances:
- Under 4.5 metres in height and under 3 metres in spread
- On the Exempt Tree Species List
- Required to be removed under other legislation (including the NSW Rural Fires Act 1997 and Electricity Supply (Safety Plans) Regulation 1997)
- All fruit and nut trees
- Can be removed under the 10/50 Legislation. Some clearing of vegetation is allowed if your property is mapped in the 10/50 entitlement area.
- Removed by Rural Fire Services because they pose or will pose a significant threat to access along required fire trails or to human life, buildings or other property during a bushfire
- Placed where the base of the trunk of the tree at ground level, is located within three metres of an existing approved building (not complying or exempt development) and NOT in a Heritage Conservation area
- Any tree listed as a priority weed under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and identified in the Murray Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan.
Pruning and Clearing
You can prune trees or clear vegetation in the following circumstances:
- Reasonable pruning of up to 10% of a tree's canopy within 12 calendar months. Pruning must be in accordance with Australian Standards AS 4373 – 2007
- The removal of deadwood from a tree
- Removal of any species of parasite mistletoe or parasitic plant from any part of a tree
- It meets the criteria of other legislation –for example under 10/50 Legislation some clearing of vegetation is allowed if your property is mapped in the 10/50 entitlement area.
Do I need a Vegetation Removal Permit?
Outlined below are the steps you need to take in order to check whether a Vegetation Removal Permit or other approvals are required to remove trees or vegetation from your property:
Check the zoning of your land in the Albury Local Environment Plan 2010 or on the NSW Planning Portal spatial viewer.
Vegetation removal on Rural Land (RU1, RU2 & RU4) that does not require development consent is regulated by Local Land Services. If any on these zones apply to your land, please contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.
Removal or Pruning of Tree/s located in a Village (RU5), Residential (R1-R5), Business (B1-B7) or Industrial Zone (IN1-IN2) in the Albury LEP 2010 that is not associated with development requires the submission of a Vegetation Removal Permit (VRP) application.
For native tree and vegetation removal within private land zoned Environmental (E2, E3 & E4) or Private Recreation (RE2) you will need to check if your proposed clearing will exceed the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold. Please contact our environment team to discuss environmental clearing requirements.
Replacement Planting a condition of your application
As part of the approval conditions of the Vegetation Removal Permit, compensatory planting may be required. The number and type of replacement plants will generally be determined onsite with the landowner.
Process to apply to Council for a permit to remove or prune trees and vegetation
- Mark all vegetation proposed to be removed on site.
- Prepare a tree plan showing all trees and native vegetation on the site and what is proposed for removal.
- Obtain required evidence e.g an arborist report, structural engineers report, photographs, etc, to support the removal of the tree.
- Complete a Vegetation Removal Permit (VRP) (including tree plan and supporting evidence).
- A Council Arborist will inspect the site and the vegetation proposed to be removed.
- We will assess the application and advise you of the outcome within 28 days.
Penalties & Fines for Non-Compliance
For non-compliance of a development consent from Council to remove or prune trees a fine of up to $3000.00 can apply to individuals and $6000.00 for companies.
Penalties issued by Local Court up to $110,000, if dealt with by the Land and Environment Court can attract maximum fines in excess of $1,100,000.
What if I have Concerns about a Neighbours Tree?
Council has no authority to act in disputes between neighbours. It is always best to talk to your neighbours first even if you are only pruning less than 10% of overhanging branches and if the tree needs consent they will need to follow the process above.
If your neighbour does not agree to remove or prune a tree, you can contact the Community Justice Centre for mediation assistance. If your neighbour's tree is damaging your property and the above methods have not worked you will need to seek your own legal advice. Further information can be found in the Trees (Disputes between Neighbours Act 2006).
Engaging the right arborist
Seek a minimum of three quotes.
- Sight the contractor's public liability and worker's compensation certificates (public liability insurance should be for a minimum of $20 million).
- Check the contractor's qualifications and/or industry associations. A contractor should at least possess formal qualifications from a recognised institution.
- Ask for references or recommendations from previous clients.
- Agree on the extent of the work to be undertaken.
- Include the cost of the removal of the stump in the quote. By removing the stump, you reduce the possibility of termite activity.
What we look at when assessing a Vegetation Removal Permit application
- The health and condition of the tree, whether the tree is dead, dying, diseased or structurally unsound and whether, if not pruned or removed, will pose a risk to life or property;
- The suitability of the tree to its growing space and conditions;
- The aesthetic value of the tree, whether the tree has a major impact on the local landscape;
- Whether the tree is causing structural damage to utilities and assets;
- Whether the tree is native and part of the local endangered ecological community;
- The habitat value of the tree;
- The historical and cultural significance; and
- Whether there is an alternative to the complete removal of the tree, such as pruning branches, root pruning or installation of root guards.