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Tree removal and pruning

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Development Control Plan - Tree Management protects trees within our local government area and prohibits their removal, pruning or activities causing the tree injury, decline, death or disease.  

Removal or  pruning of trees requires Council permission.  Trees that are dead do not require a permit.  Hollow bearing trees (trees with hollows are termed 'habitat trees') may require an assessment from Council's Ecologist.  Hollow bearing trees on other private lands may need assessment by an AQF Level 5 Arborist. The results of this assessment must be presented to Council before the tree/s are removed.  An Application to either remove or prune a tree is to be made in writing, using the application form link to the right.  An inspection may be required by a Council officer, and if the application is approved, a permit will be issued in writing. A copy of the permit must be available to an authorised officer on request.Applications for tree removal may need to be supported by a report from a private industy Arborist with the minimum qualification AQF Level 5 Diploma Horticulture (Arboriculture). This is at the expense of the applicant. 

Please submit applications for tree pruning to Council with a Tree Works Specification form in compliance with the Australian standards AS4373/2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. This needs to be carried out by a tree worker or arborist with the minimum qualification AQF Level 3 Horticulture (Arboriculture).

Council will consider the following criteria when assessing an application for tree pruning or removal:

  • Is the tree dangerous or diseased? Is this supported by an Arborist Report?
  • Will the mature size of the tree exceed the available space and/or will the way the tree grows become an issue?
  • Is the tree in an unsuitable or overcrowded situation?
  • Is there clear evidence of damage to utilities and/or services?
  • Is the tree causing illness or severe allergic reactions and has medical documentation be provided?
  • Is the tree interfering with the efficiency of an existing solar heating appliance? (In most cases thinning of the tree will be the preferred option)?
  • If the tree is hollow bearing (*trees with hollows are termed 'habitat trees').
  • Was the tree specifically grown for its edible fruit?

Removal of trees without Council consent could result in prosecution and fines up to $110,000. If you wish to prune or remove a tree (which is not exempt) you must seek approval from Council before any work is started.

Reasons an application may be refused:

  • The tree provides an important habitat for animals and environmental benefits.
  • The tree is located along a creek
  • The landscape would be significantly affected if the tree was removed for example front boundaries, ridgelines or rural views
  • The reason for removing the tree does not fit into one of the reasons above

The following reasons are not considered for the removal of trees:

  • View: Pruning and/or removal of trees to optimise or enhance a view or outlook
  • Shade: This is not a valid reason for removal, however in a case where medical documentation is submitted stating that tree-shade to a property is affecting a person's health, then judicious crown thinning of tree/s may be permitted
  • Leaf/flower/fruit fall: Tree fall is a natural part of a trees life cycle and is not regarded as a sufficient reason to prune and/or remove trees
  • A healthy tree on vacant residential zoned land well clear of boundaries and no building work has been approved




This page was last updated on: 25 September 2020