Preserving our trees
Tree preservation in Randwick
The preservation of our public and private trees is of the highest priority and the controls for achieving this objective are set out in the Randwick Local Environmental Plan (RLEP) and Randwick Development Control Plan (DCP).
Clause 5.9 of the RLEP sets out the criteria where development consent or a permit are required to prune or remove trees or vegetation.
Part B5 of Randwick's DCP supports Clause 5.9 of the RLEP and details a range of additional tree works that require Council approval to ensure the appropriate preservation and maintenance of trees or vegetation with aesthetic, environmental and cultural values.
Tree works are works affecting the form, structure or foliage of a tree, including root cutting, crown lifting, reduction pruning, selective pruning, crown thinning, remedial or restorative pruning or complete tree removal.
The primary objectives of Part B5 of Randwick's DCP are to:
- Effectively protect the urban forest in Randwick City, with particular emphasis on retaining trees with cultural, heritage and natural significance;
- Encourage the preservation of trees and vegetation that contribute to native flora and fauna habitat;
- Establish a clear framework and requirements for the proper management of trees and other vegetation.
Part B5 of the DCP should be read in conjunction with:
- Part A - Introduction and other sections in Part B - General Controls (e.g. B4 - Landscaping and Biodiversity); and
- Other sections of the DCP for specific development types, locations or sites, if relevant to the DA.
Street tree masterplan
To help meet these objectives, we’ve adopted a comprehensive Street Tree Masterplan. This document has a range of strategies to manage and preserve our trees long-term and highlights their value to the community. It also provides action plans to keep existing trees and vegetation, and gradually remove and replace inappropriate and problematic species.
Development consent is required for tree works to ANY tree within a Heritage Conservation Area, if the tree is or forms part of a Heritage Item, if the tree is listed on Council's Register of Significant Trees or if the tree is or forms part of an Aboriginal object or is within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance, where those tree works will have an impact on heritage significance or amenity.
Development consent is also required for tree works on land that is listed on the State Heritage List. Any such application will require referral to the NSW Heritage Office and an additional fee would be paid to the NSW Heritage Office.
A tree permit must be obtained for tree works proposed to any of the following (when development consent is not required):
- minor tree works (excluding major pruning and removal) on private trees listed on Council’s Significant Tree Register or located within a Heritage Conservation Area, where those works will not have an impact on heritage significance or amenity
- any palm tree (except Cocos palms), cycad or tree fern of any size
- any tree on public land (as defined in the Local Government Act 1993);
- any hollow bearing tree/s;
- any other tree with:
- a height equal to or exceeding six (6) metres;
- a canopy width equal to or exceeding four (4) metres;
- for a single trunk tree species, a trunk circumference equal to or exceeding one (1) metre at a height of one (1) metre above ground level; or
- for a multi-trunk tree species, a combined trunk circumference (measured around the outer girth of the group of trunks) equal to or exceeding one (1) metre at a height of one (1) metre above ground level.
Clause 5.9 of the RLEP and Part B5 of the Randwick DCP specify the following exceptions where Council approval is not required to prune or remove a tree:
- if the tree is dying or dead or is a risk to human life or property and is not required as the habitat of native fauna - Assessing wildlife habitat;
- if the tree is growing within two (2) metres of any building (excluding an outbuilding) measured horizontally from the closest point of the trunk at one (1) metre from ground level to the closest point of the vertical alignment of the building structure which must be the eave, guttering or fixed awning of the building;
- tree works to give effect to a development consent that permits the pruning or removal of the subject tree/s;
- tree works on public land owned or under the care, control and management of Randwick City Council and carried out by persons authorised by Council;
You also do not require Council consent to prune any tree on private property:
- if pruning is required or authorised to be done under the Electricity Supply Act 1995;
- if the pruning is in accordance with the Australian Standard (AS 4373 - 2007) to provide 500mm clearance of insulated domestic electricity supply cables;
- for minor or maintenance tree works, including crown thinning by a maximum of ten (10) percent in any two year period (excluding height reduction), pruning of deadwood more than 50mm in diameter, the removal of live branches to a height of 2.5 metres from ground level and the formative pruning of young trees as defined in AS 4373 - 2007.
Plants declared under the Biodiversity Act 2015 to be a noxious weed in respect of land within the City of Randwick or any tree listed in Appendix B5-2 of Randwick's DCP can also be pruned or removed without Council consent.
If you wish to make an application to prune/remove trees covered by Council's RLEP and DCP or you have any doubts about the legality of any tree works you may wish to undertake, please contact Council's Call Centre before starting the work.
If you remove, prune, damage or injure a tree without Council consent you may be liable to penalties under section 629 of the Local Government Act 1993 or sections 125 and 126 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Further penalties may also apply to the damage of trees or vegetation covered by other Acts such as the National Parks and Wildlife Act, Threatened Species Conservation Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Council encourages the community to take an active role in ensuring compliance with the tree and vegetation preservation provisions of the RLEP and DCP. If you suspect that someone has breached these controls, please contact Council so that the matter may be properly investigated. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence and people are encouraged to report any such potentially illegal activity.