Tree Removal under Exempt Development

This guide is designed to help with Tree Removal in New South Wales

Most information about tree removal applies to all states in Australia but please keep in mind that tree and vegetation management policy can differ from council to council.

What is an Exempt Development?

Providing your building project meets specific development standards, approval from your Council or planning authority is not needed. This is called Exempt Development.

Can my tree be removed under Exempt Development?

You can remove a tree under the following circumstances under Exempt Development:

  • The tree is dead: Please be aware that a dead tree cannot be removed under Exempt Development if is required as a habitant of native animals. Photographic evidence is recommended before removing the tree.
  • The tree is an imminent danger: The Tree can be removed under Exempt Development when certificated by a Level 5 qualified arborist.
  • The tree has become a hazard: Photographic evidence is required.
  • The tree is on the Exempt Tree List.
  • The trees in a bushfire affected 10/50 area on not sloping ground.
You can't remove a tree if one of the following sentences is true:
  • The tree is located in a Biodiversity Values Area.
  • The tree is on the Council's register of significant trees, located in a heritage area or in a heritage conservation area.
  • The tree exceeds certain measures.
Use our Tree Removal Guide to find out if your tree can be removed under Exempt Development and to find out more information about the mentioned aspects.

How can I remove a tree under Exempt Development in NSW?

If you are absolutely sure that Council's approval is not necessary you could do the tree removal by yourself.
However, nothing beats the work of professional tree fellers. Tree removal experts possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to finish the job safely and efficiently.

Make sure you get your facts straight: The maximum penalty that comes with cutting down a tree illegally is $1.1 million in the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

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