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Wollongong City Council

Trees on Your Property

It’s important that you plant the right types of trees, in the right places, and look after them properly.

You may need Council’s permission to prune or remove trees on your property.

You do not need permission to prune or remove trees on your property that are:

  • on the exempt trees list
  • already approved to be removed or pruned as part of a Development Consent.

You do need permission to prune or remove trees that are any of the following:

  • 3 metres or more in height
  • has a trunk diameter of 200mm or more, measured at 1 metre off the ground
  • has branches that spread 3 metres wide or more
  • has large roots that you want to prune
  • dead or dying.

There are two ways to get approval from Council to prune or remove a tree:

  1. Apply for a Tree Permit. Use the button at the bottom of this page to apply  It can take around 28 working days for your application to be processed.
  2. Get permission through a Development Application. Use this option to prune or remove a tree as part of work for a proposed development, like a house, extension, granny flat, pool or garage.

If you have questions, call us on (02) 4227 7111.

If the tree you want to prune is on a neighbour’s property, see our Issues with Neighbours’ Trees page.

You can read more about what we consider when assessing a tree application in our Tree Management Permit Policy PDF, 87.46 KB.

We've made a guide in Easy English to explain how Tree Permits work. You can download a copy below.

Tree Permits - Easy English Guide  PDF, 3438.35 KB

Residents in some areas close to the bush can prepare for bush fires by clearing trees from around their home under the NSW Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme.

If your property is in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area, you may be able to clear trees close to your house without Council's approval. Make sure you read the guidelines carefully first; you could be fined for illegally clearing trees.

It is the property owner's responsibility to make sure they follow the 10/50 Code of Practice.

You should also note that you can’t remove a tree under these guidelines if a development consent specifically says it needs to be retained.

For details, and to find out if your property is in a 10/50 area, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website.

Sometimes trees on your land can become dangerous. This could include part of the tree ‘failing’ (for example, branches falling), roots heaving out of the ground, or significant damage from storms.

When a tree is an immediate threat to people or property, emergency authorities like the State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS) or Council can do work to make the tree safe.

Dangerous tree work can only be done on the part of the tree that’s posing a risk; for example, the whole tree can’t be removed if only one branch is causing a problem.

If this happens, the property owner should collect evidence to show why the tree was a threat. This could include:

  • An emergency response reference number
  • Photos of the dangerous tree
  • A report by a qualified arborist.

You will also need to apply for a Tree Permit within 72 hours of the emergency if more work needs to be done on the tree, or if it needs to be removed entirely. Evidence to show that the tree was dangerous (described above) should be included with your application.

If a tree on public land becomes dangerous, report it to Council on (02) 4227 7111. You can also use this number after hours.

You should not plant trees on the footpath in front of your house, as this is public land.

However, you’re welcome to ask Council to plant a footpath tree for you. Use the button below or call us on (02) 4227 7111 to make a request.

Caring for your new tree

Download our Tree Care Tips flyer PDF, 3868.09 KB to learn how to care for your new street tree.

Issues with trees on public land

If a tree on public land, such as a footpath, park or reserve near your property needs attention, please report it to us.

Apply for a Tree Permit

Please read the steps below to learn about the process to apply for a tree permit.

Before you can apply, you need to log in or register in our Online Services system.

Once you are logged in, select Lodge an Application, then Permits & Licences and Tree Permit.

You might not need a Tree Permit from Council if your situation meets one of these conditions:

  • The tree you want to prune or remove is on the list of exempt trees.
  • The pruning or removal is part of a proposed development, like building or extending a house, garage, swimming pool, subdivision etc. In these cases, you should include the pruning or removal of the tree/s as part of your Development Application.
  • Keeping the tree/s was included as a condition in a previous Development Consent. In this case, you would need to apply to Modify or Amend the DA.
  • The tree removal is part of a Complying Development and meets the rules for trees under Complying Development.
  • The tree is in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area for bush fire protection. Strict rules apply - see the NSW RFS website for details.

If your case doesn't meet any of the above conditions, follow the steps below to apply for a Tree Permit.

Please note, if your property is zoned RU1, RU2, and RU4, you will need approval from Local Land Services, rather than Council.

If you're unsure, please call us on (02) 4227 7111 for advice. Penalties can apply if you prune or remove trees without getting the correct approvals.

Including the right information with your Tree Permit application can help to avoid delays in this process.

Information you need to attach with your application includes:

  • Information to help us easily identify the tree/s your request applies to, such as:
    • an aerial map of the property clearly showing the tree/s location. This could be a satellite image, hand-drawn map, diagram or plan.
    • photos of the tree/s .
  • A description of the number and type of trees (if known) included in the application.
  • The reason/s you want to prune or remove the tree/s.
  • Relevant reports (if available) from qualified experts, for example arborist, structural engineer, plumber, geotechnical expert, etc.
  • Information about your property that will help us inspect the trees. This includes things like:
    • Whether you have any dogs or pets on the property.
    • If the trees can be accessed. For example, if there are locked gates that would need to be opened for us to inspect the tree.
  • Your correct daytime phone number so we can reach you if we need more information, or to arrange access to inspect the tree/s.

If you are not the property owner, you will also need to attach a legal document showing the owner's approval for you to act on their behalf. This could include (but is not limited to) strata managers, Power of Attorney, Directors of companies, Trustees, Executors, etc.

There are two ways you can apply for a Tree Permit.

Apply online

Before you can apply, you need to log in or register in our Online Services system.

Once you are logged in, select Lodge an Application, then Permits & Licences and Tree Permit.

Apply with a PDF form

If you’d prefer to use a hard copy, download the form below:

Apply for a Tree Permit PDF, 234.21 KB

You can return PDF application forms to us:

  • By post with a cheque or money order payable to Wollongong City Council. Our mailing address is shown within the How to Pay Section on the form.
  • In person at our Customer Service Centre, 41 Burelli Street, Wollongong, between 9am and 5pm on working weekdays.

You need to pay the relevant fee when you apply before your application can be processed.

Our current fees and charges for tree permit applications are shown below.

Showing 1 - 5 of 5 items
Parent HierachyArea Fee NameFee Name GSTGST Current Fee (incl. GST)Current Fee (incl. GST)
Parent HierachyEnvironmental Services Fee NameTree Management Permit Application GSTN Current Fee$80.50
Parent HierachyEnvironmental Services Fee NameTree Management Permit Review Application GSTN Current Fee$41.00
Parent HierachyEnvironmental Services Fee NameTree Management Permit Breaches - per offence - for individuals GSTN Current Fee$3,000.00
Parent HierachyEnvironmental Services Fee NameTree Management Permit Breaches - per offence - for corporations GSTN Current Fee$6,000.00
Parent HierachyEnvironmental Services Fee NameTree Management Permit Pensioner Rate (50% of application fee subject to receiving pensioner rebate from Council) GSTN Current Fee$41.00

After you lodge a tree application, we will inspect the trees listed.

Please tag the tree/s as soon as you lodge your application so we can easily identify them.

Use a brightly coloured tape, ribbon, string, or a similar non-permanent material that won't hurt the tree.

For everyone's health and safety, we are limiting face-to-face contact when we inspect your tree/s.

We don't generally make appointments to inspect trees, so please include all removal or pruning reasons within your application. If you've told us that there's an aggressive dog on the property, or access issues like locked gates, we will call you to arrange a suitable time for inspection. Please make sure you put your correct daytime phone number on the application to help with this process and avoid delays.

COVID-19 safety

We are following COVID-safe practices when inspecting trees. This includes minimising contact with customers, social distancing and wearing face masks when appropriate.

After we assess your application, you will be sent a permit. This will include any conditions you need to follow when pruning or removing the tree/s.

A qualified arborist will need to do all the approved pruning work.

Make sure you follow all conditions carefully, and only prune or remove those trees included in the permit. Penalties can apply for pruning or removing trees without approval.

Applying for a review

If you're not happy with the decision about your Tree Permit, you can ask for a review using the form below. You will need to include additional information to support your request for a review.

Application for Review of Tree Permit Determination PDF, 174.98 KB

Ask a question about Tree Permits

Want to check where your application is up to, ask a question before you apply, or see if permission has been given for tree work?

Use our online form to ask a question, or call us on (02) 4227 7111.

You can also visit our Tree Permit FAQs page for answers to some common questions about pruning or removing trees.

Report a tree issue

You can visit our Report an Issue page to let us know about tree pruning or removal which you think might not have been approved, or other issues with trees, plants or grass.

Learn more