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Tree Management

Council trees and private trees

Overview

Trees are a very important part of the environment. Trees improve the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants and release oxygen into the air.

They also improve the appearance of the urban environment and provide shade in summer, which helps to lower the temperature, as well as provide habitat for native animals, birds and insects. It is for these reasons that we encourage tree planting and coordinate the retention of existing trees and a citywide tree planting program.

Looking after and managing trees requires input from the whole community.

Council trees and private trees

A Council tree is a tree located on council or public land such as parks, reserves or nature strips. A private tree is a tree located on your property.  

If you have an issue with a Council tree such as:

  • pruning, removal, branch collection, infestation
  • damage to private property caused by a Council tree
  • a bushfire management enquiry.

You can report the issue online (using one of the related information links), or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Before reporting issues, please read important information in the next section.

Requesting a Council Tree

Residents can request tree planting on their nature strip through our customer request system.

Tree species include:

  • Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry Ash)
  • Trisainiopsis laurina (Water Gum)
  • Lagerstromia indica (Crepe Myrtle)
  • Callistemon viminalis (Bottlebrush)

Species to be planted are determined by our Open Space team and are dependent on current plantings that exist within the street.

You can request a Council Tree by contacting Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Reporting Council tree issues

For any urgent requests relating to safety, please phone our Customer Service team on 02 4645 4000.

Tree pruning

Common reasons we will not action pruning requests:

  • Leaf litter, shedding bark, fruit fall, falling sticks/twigs onto lawns or gardens.
  • Reduce sap and bird/bat droppings on cars or dwellings. 
  • Unsubstantiated fear of large trees.
  • The removal of sound healthy trees to improve access to solar energy. Where tree pruning may improve solar capture capacity, Council may consider these requests on an individual merit.
  • Bush fire hazard control which has not been approved by Rural or NSW Fire Brigades.
  • Prune for aesthetic purposes.

Request Council tree pruning online, or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Tree touching a power line?

If the Council tree is touching a power line on the street, please call Endeavour Energy on 131 081.

Tree removal requests

Common reasons Council will not action removal requests:

  • Leaf litter, shedding bark, fruit fall, falling sticks/twigs onto lawns or gardens.
  • Reduce sap and bird/bat droppings on cars or dwellings.
  • Unsubstantiated fear of large trees.
  • The removal of sound healthy tree to improve access to solar energy. Where tree pruning may improve solar capture capacity Council may consider these requests on an individual merit.
  • Minor termite damage which can be successfully treated by other means.
  • Bush fire hazard control which has not been approved by NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.

Request Council tree removal online, or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Tree infestations

Common reasons Council will not action Infestation/Insect requests:

  • Bees are a natural part of the ecological system and as such Council cannot eradicate them unless they have established a colony/swarm in a tree, which would greatly impact on a person’s life.
  • Council does not treat or poison caterpillars and insects on tree foliage, as this would be destructive to the life and other fauna. Generally this problem is a seasonal cyclical part of nature and our local environment encompassing a relatively short time frame of minor inconvenience.
  • Termites in council trees are inspected by a Council appointed officer, who will determine if the tree is to be treated by a Councils contract Pest Control Agent

Report Council tree infestation online, or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Damage to private property

Has a Council tree damaged your sewer and/or stormwater?

Council requires a plumber's report and sewer diagram to be attached/submitted to support your request.  If lodging an online request, please ensure you have an electronic version of these documents before proceeding.

Report damage to private property by a Council tree online, or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

Bushfire hazard enquiry

Are you in an Emergency and/or Imminent Danger?
If yes, please call 000.

eService Customer Requests are monitored during Council business hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

For any urgent requests relating to safety, please phone Council Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

If calling outside of Council business hours, you will be redirected to the Council's after hours call service and required to follow the prompts.

You can request the following:

  • Hazard reduction program
  • Long grass in adjacent reserve
  • Overgrown vegetation in adjacent reserve.

Enquire about Council tree bushfire hazard online, or contact Customer Service on 02 4645 4000.

What should I plant at home?

Planting native species has a number of benefits for the local environment. Council has developed a Native Gardening Guide(13MB, PDF) and Tree Planting Guide(2MB, PDF) to guide you in your planting choices and promote healthy ecosystems.

Did you know? one large tree can provide a day's supply of oxygen for a family of four and in one year, absorb 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide out of the air, thereby preventing it from going into the atmosphere.

Finding the right sport for your tree

Here's a few things to consider when choosing the right location:

  • Make sure there is room for the roots to grow: Aim to plant your tree no closer than 3 metres to your house to allow the roots to develop a strong base without growing against your house footings or stormwater and sewer pipes.
  • Maximise shade: Try to plant your tree in a location where it will filter direct sunlight during the hotter months.
  • Find a sunny spot: Most trees thrive in full sun, so avoid planting them in heavily shaded areas in your yard.
  • Look out for overhead power: Don't plant your tree directly below powerlines. Try and plant the tree at least 4-6 metres away from the lines.

Need to prune or remove a tree?

Council approval is required for pruning or removal of any tree on private property that:

  • Has a height of more than three metres, or
  • Has an outside circumference of at least 500mm at ground level, or
  • Has a branch and foliage crown spread of at least four metres.

This does not include trees that have been declared under the Noxious Weeds Act or where an exemption applies under Part 11 Vegetation and Wildlife Management of the Campbelltown (Sustainable City) Development Control Plan 2015.

We make an effort to retain and protect trees and will not approve the removal of a tree unless suitable evidence is provided.

Clearing of native vegetation

The NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas), 2017 allows for Council to provide a permit for the clearing of native vegetation (that is not associated with development), as long as it does not exceed the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) thresholds.

What is the BOS, and how do I know if I'm exceeding the threshold?

In circumstances where the proposed clearing of trees and/or native vegetation exceeds the BOS threshold (where the trees are located on the NSW Biodiversity Values Map (BVM), or the proposed extent of removal exceeds the area clearing threshold); Council is not the consent authority, and the landowner would be required to make an application to the Native Vegetation Panel (NVP) for approval.

Note: There are some exemptions that apply to these circumstances, which are outlined in more detail below, under Exempt tree works.

What type of application is required?

For tree removal that is not associated with development, the Veg SEPP applies:

For tree removal that is associated with development, the application is subject to assessment under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 (EP&A Act); requiring a Development Application (DA) to be lodged with Council (or a Section 4.55 modification to an existing DA).

Exempt tree works

The Veg SEPP provides two exemptions where an application can be made to Council for approval to remove a tree, but that does not require a permit; provided Council is satisfied that the application meets the exemption provisions. These exemptions can be found in Clause 8 of the Veg SEPP, and include trees that have been found to be:

  • Dead or dying, and not the habitat of native animals
  • Imminent risk to human life or property

Applications for exemptions under the Veg SEPP are to be made to Council, with relevant reports to be submitted in support of the application as required. 'Council's satisfaction' is to mean in writing approval provided by Council that the exemption provisions apply to the application. Prosecution may be sought under the Veg SEPP in circumstances where the clearing of vegetation has been undertaken without Council approval, and there is no defensible position supporting the circumstances of the removal.

What information is required with your application?

An application to remove or prune a tree higher than 10 metres* must include written evidence from a qualified arborist that states why the tree needs to be removed or pruned.

  • If the tree is causing damage to water/sewer pipes, a report from a licensed plumber is required.
  • If the tree is causing structural damage to a building, a report from a structural engineer is required.
  • If the tree has been damaged by insects and the extent of the damage cannot be easily observed a report from a pest control specialist is required.
  • If the tree is dying, a Picus Sonic Tomograph Test (measuring the level of decay and structural integrity of the tree) is required to be submitted in support of the Arborist report
  • If the site contains vegetation that is representative of the structure and function of the natural vegetation in the locality, a Flora and Fauna Assessment (FFA) report from a suitably qualified ecologist is required
  • If the proposed works are likely to result in harm to threatened species, their habitat, or part of a threatened ecological community - a Biodiversity Conservation licence under Part 2 of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act, 2016 may be required.

Please refer to Part 11.3.4.1 of the Campbelltown (Sustainable City) Development Control Plan 2014 for additional information.

Please ensure you attach copies of supporting reports/documents /photographs/surveyor report if required, completed site plan and completed application form with your payment in accordance with Council’s Fees and Charges(2MB, PDF).

*In certain circumstances (and regardless of the height of the tree), Council may still request the applicant to provide an arborist report before making a decision.

What does Council consider when assessing applications? 

A valid reason for removing a tree could be:

The tree is dead (and not the habitat of native animals)
The tree is less than three metres from a dwelling
The tree is presenting a danger to life or property
The tree is causing structural damage to a structure or sewer
The tree is stressed or diseased or suffering insect damage which cannot be rectified
The tree is too large for its location

 

A valid reason for the pruning of a tree could be:

The tree is overhanging a dwelling or adjoining property and presents a danger to life or property
To remove dead or diseased branches
Causing loss of amenity of the occupants of the property or adjoining properties, including but not limited to matters such as excessive overshadowing to a dwelling

 

An invalid reason for removal or pruning could be:

The shedding of leaves, bark, sticks and fruit into gutters, downpipes, pools, onto roofs, vehicles, lawns or gardens
Bird, bat or animal droppings on cars
Minor termite damage which can be successfully treated by other means
To improve street lighting of private property
To enhance private views
To reduce minor shading
Minor lifting of driveways and paths by tree roots
To erect a fence; and
Unsubstantiated fears of large trees

What about Solar Energy Collectors?

While Campbelltown City Council promotes the use of passive solar energy, Council does not support the removal of sound healthy trees solely to improve access to solar energy collectors. Where tree pruning may improve solar capture capacity, Council will consider these applications on individual merit.

10/50 Code laws

Laws are now in place which help people prepare their homes for bush fires in NSW.

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice for New South Wales (508KB, PDF) came into effect in August 2014, and allows people in a designated 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area to:

  • clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval, and
  • clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.

You can find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area using the NSW Rural Fire Service's online tool.

For more information on the new laws, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit 10/50 vegetation clearing on the NSW Rural Fire Service website.

Important information about the 10/50 Code 

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice for New South Wales (the 10/50 Code) is an initiative of the State Government, and all enquiries should be directed to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Please note that:

  • The Code and the online tools are for use by individual landowners. Council cannot provide advice on the Code or the mapping of the 10/50 Entitlement Area.
  • Clearing can only be carried out by the landowner, or with approval of the landowner. Council will not provide approval to undertake clearing on Council land.
  • Council implements a bush fire works program based on the Bush Fire Risk Management Plan and available funding, and will not be undertaking further works outside the program. This program is regularly reviewed.
  • Any bushfire hazard complaints or enquiries about how the 10/50 Code may apply to your property should be directed to the RFS Macarthur office on 02 9603 7077.

Overhanging branches

Branches overhanging a footpath can potentially cause an obstruction, preventing pedestrians a clear passageway.

If you see overhanging branches from a Council owned tree, please report it online or contact our Customer Service officers on 02 4645 4000.

Property owners are responsible for trees within their property boundary and should ensure overhanging branches are pruned back from the footpath to avoid injury.

Neighbourhood tree disputes

Council has limited capacity to intervene and resolve nuisance regarding overhanging tree branches and depositing of leaf litter onto your premises from trees on an adjoining property.

If a neighbour's tree is causing concern or damage to property or underground pipes, it's recommended that you discuss the problem with your neighbour first, as they may be unaware of the concern or damage the tree is causing.

Where agreement on a course of action cannot be agreed on, help is available from the Community Justice Centre by calling 1800 990 777. The Community Justice Centre also provide a free mediation service aimed at resolving neighbour issues.

If a dispute is unable to be resolved, action can be taken at the Land and Environment Court under the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006.

  • This fact sheet(136KB, PDF) has further information on the Act and your rights in tree disputes.
  • An order can be applied for depending on whether the situation meets the criteria.
  • Generally the tree must be causing or be likely to cause damage to property or injury to people before the court can be involved.

Fallen trees after storms

Powerful storms can fell trees and branches. Our Removal of fallen trees and branches following storm events brochure (548KB, PDF) provides information on how to dispose of trees and branches following a storm event. If you need assistance with large fallen tree branches, please contact the SES on 132 500.

Storm Debris Clean Up

A storm event can result in a large amount of debris falling from trees.   Council is only able to assist residents with storm debris clean up when a storm has been officially declared by the NSW State Government. At all other times, it is the responsibility of the resident to dispose of tree debris caused by inclement weather.

In the event of a storm being officially registered at a State level, Council can provide services to assist with the clean up of debris. Council requires notice of the required debris clean up within three (3) weeks of the registered storm event occurring. For enquiries, please contact Council’s City Works Division on 02 4645 4699.

If a storm has not been officially declared, tree debris can be disposed of in  the garden organics bin provided by Council. Garden waste that is too large   for the garden organics bin may be disposed of in a kerbside clean up service. Garden organics must be tied and bundled into 1-metre lengths. Large whole branches or trunks (eg palm tree trunks) thicker than 15 cm in diameter will not be accepted. There is a 1 cubic metre limit on the amount of material that will be collected and clean ups must be arranged in advance before placing material on the kerb. For enquires, please contact Council’s Waste and Recycling Services Section on 02 4645 4645.

Garden organics not suitable for placement in the garden organics bin or collection through Council’s clean up service can be disposed of at one of the local waste management centres. Please note that a fee may be charged for this service.

Significant Tree Register 

Council has a Significant Tree Register that lists certain trees within the Campbelltown Local Government Area that have been classified as having significant values related to their visual, historic, botanical, cultural or commemorative significance.

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