Tree removal and protection

Removing trees to develop a site may be complying development (fast-track approval process) if it meets the relevant standards set out in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

This can involve the complete removal of a tree and its roots to prepare a lot for development or partial removal of a tree or vegetation to locate a building or foundation in a certain place.

Residential areas - Lots in zones R1, R2, R3, R4 or RU5

For a full list of standards in the Housing Code for the removal of trees or vegetation for residential complying development, please refer to clause 3.33.

Rural areas - Lots in zones RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6 and R5

For a full list of standards in the Rural Housing Code for the removal of trees or vegetation in rural zones under complying development, please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.

Commercial and industrial buildings - lots in zones B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, IN1, IN2, IN3, IN4 or SP3

For a full list of standards in the Commercial and Industrial (New Buildings and Additions) Code for the removal of trees or vegetation, for new, or additions to, existing commercial and industrial buildings as part of a complying development, please refer to the provisions[1] relating to tree protection measures of the State Policy.

 

For example

Trees that can be removed and trees that must be retained

Trees that can be removed and trees that must be retained

 

Protected trees

The State Policy defines the term ’protected tree for specific trees on a lot and sets out protection measures for all trees that are to be retained.

A protected tree is defined as a tree that requires a separate permit or development consent for pruning or removal.

Protected trees cannot be removed as part of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) and will require some form of protection during construction to ensure they are not inadvertently damaged. Trees that are on the relevant council’s significant tree register cannot be removed as part of a complying development.

For a full list of tree protection measures please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.

For example

Protection zones for retained trees during construction

 

Other considerations

  • Generally, complying development cannot be carried out on:
    • land within a heritage conservation area, or a draft heritage conservation area (there are some exceptions, please check the relevant development standards for more information)
    • land reserved for a public purpose
    • class 1 or 2 land on council’s acid sulphate soils map
    • land in a buffer area
    • land in a river front area
    • land in an ecologically sensitive area
    • environmentally sensitive land
    • land in a protected area
    • land affected by a coastline hazard, coastal hazard or coastal erosion hazard
    • land in a foreshore area
    • land in the 25 Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) counter or a higher ANEF
    • unsewered land in a drinking water catchment identified in an environmental planning instruments
    • land declared as a special area
    • an environmentally sensitive area.
  • In addition, complying development cannot be carried out on land that:
    • comprises an item that is listed in the State Heritage Register (unless an exemption under section 57 of the Heritage Act 1977 has been granted)
    • is subject to an interim heritage order (unless an exemption under section 57 of the Heritage Act 1977 has been granted)
    • is identified as an item of environmental heritage or a heritage item in an environmental planning instrument (unless an exemption under section 57 of the Heritage Act 1977 has been granted)
    • Is a critical habitat under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
    • Is a wilderness area under the Wilderness Act 1987.
  • You can carry out complying development on bushfire prone land, subject to the requirements of the relevant Code (clause 3.4 sets out the bushfire prone land requirements under the Housing Code).
  • You can carry out complying development on flood prone lots, subject to the requirements of the relevant Code (clause 3.5 sets out development standards for flood control lot under the Housing Code).