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Tree Works – Our Three-Step Process

Most tree works require written approval from Council but some pruning and removal works are exempt.  Council has Tree Management Controls in Your Development > Documents that help you understand if your works require approval or are exempt.


Tree Works

Step 1: If you need Council approval, complete an application

You will need to complete the ‘Application for Approval to Prune/ Remove a Tree/s and/ or Vegetation’ for a Council Officer to assess a tree on your property.

If the tree is located on a neighbour’s property, written permission needs to be obtained from the owner/s of the tree/s.

To complete an application for tree works, visit Your Development > Documents.

If you are thinking of developing your land and there are existing trees, Council offers an assessment service to let you know whether trees need to be retained or can be removed.

lodge application

Step 2: Lodge your application

Tree and/ or Pre-DA Lodgement Advice applications can be lodged at the Customer Service Centre with the appropriate fee or can be mailed to Council with a cheque or money order.

Fee information is included in the application forms.


Step 3: Wait for your application to be assessed and determined

Within 5 days of receiving your application, an assessment Officer will contact you by phone to arrange a time and day to inspect your trees. Council Officers will conduct a Visual Tree Assessment (VTA) to examine the tree’s general health and structure and to assess the level of impact they may be having on people and property.

Tree Assessment Criteria such as the following will be considered by the assessing Officer:

  • Health & condition of the tree/s
  • Any potential structural hazards
  • Any significant property damage
  • Cultural & species significance

Council’s written determination will generally be provided within 4 weeks of receiving the application. The requested tree works may be approved, deferred for further information or refused.

A. Approved Works – An approval for tree works is valid for 2 years. Refer to Council’s brochure ‘Employing a Qualified Arborist, Not a Lopper!’ to guide you in finding a qualified Arborist (minimum AQF Level 3 – Australian Qualifications Framework).

B. Replacement Trees – Council may condition your tree approval and request a new tree be planted to replace the one removed. Refer to the brochure ‘Ornamental Native Tree Species suitable for growing in the Holroyd Local Government Area (LGA)’.

C. Deferred Works – To help determine the application the assessment Officer may defer your application and request you provide further written information on the tree or the impacts of the tree from a professional such as a Consulting Arborist (AQF Level 5) or a Licenced Plumber.

D. Refused Works – There are occasions when the reasons provided by the applicant requesting a tree be pruned or removed are not justified. This is especially so where a tree is found to be in a good growing condition and its impacts to be minor. In these cases the assessment Officer will refuse the application.

E. Review Process – When an application has been refused by Council, the applicant has an opportunity to request a review of the original application; this is called a Section 82A Review. The applicant will need to submit an ‘Application to Review Refusal of Tree Works – S82A Review’ and pay the required fee. The application must be submitted within 3 months of the original application being refused.The applicant should provide further information from a relevant professional to support their claims.

Please visit Your Development > Documents for relevant tree works forms and information brochures.

Useful Links

pre lodgement

Pre-DA Lodgement Advice

Prior to a DA or CDC, and as outlined in Step 1 of Council’s Tree Guide, you can complete a Pre-DA Lodgement Advice for Tree/s and/or Vegetation on Proposed Development Sites Form with Council. This is not an approval to remove any trees. Approval will be obtained in conjunction with the approval of a DA or CDC for your development. Applicants will need to include a plan that details the trees on site.

If you do not seek advice from Council, a tree report will be required by a Consulting Arborist (AQF Level 5) instead.

Step 1

Tree Disputes

Where a dispute may arise between neighbours over a tree matter, Council will not initially get involved as it is considered a civil matter. If neighbours cannot discuss the matter between themselves they should seek the free mediation services of the Community Justice Centre (CJC) on 1800 990 777. Council will only assess trees when a Tree Application is submitted and signed by all owners of the property where the tree is located.

You should never prune or remove a neighbour’s tree until you have sought your neighbour’s written approval and if required, an approval for the work/s has been issued by Council.

The Tree (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 provides residents with a less expensive option to have a tree matter dealt with by the Land & Environment Court which holds on site court hearings with both parties.

Useful links

Girl on phone

Tree Emergencies/ Storm damage

Trees are sometimes damaged in storms with branches or even large sections of trees breaking off. If this occurs, Council staff should be notified immediately. If out of business hours, a Qualified Consulting Arborist (AQF 4 or 5) should be contacted to assess the tree and determine whether an immediate hazard to life or property exists.

Where a tree is required to be pruned or removed as ‘emergency works’, Council requires a Tree Application to be lodged retrospectively with the Consulting Arborist’s written report and photographic evidence.

If the situation is very urgent with potential property damage or risk to life, it is advised the SES (State Emergency Service) is contacted on 132 500.