Trees on My Property

Trees and vegetation in the Armidale Regional Local Government Area are protected under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Area) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP) and the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016 .

The Vegetation SEPP regulates proposed tree and vegetation removal that is not associated with a development but still requires a permit from Council. This includes trees on private land. 

Please note - If you live on a property in the following zones, you will need to contact the Northern Tablelands Local Lands Services: 

  • RU1 Primary Production
  • RU3 Forestry
  • RU4 Primary Production Small Lots

For more information about the legislation that determines tree management in the Armidale region, see our Tree Preservation Legislation and Tree Management page.

Trees on my property - frequently asked questions

There are a number of exemptions that can be applied in certain situations if the tree is unprotected.

You generally do not need a permit to remove or prune a tree if:

  • The tree is under 6 metres in height (this exemption does not apply to properties zoned as E3. If you are unsure whether your property is in this zone, contact our Customer Service team).

  • The tree is required to be removed under other legislation.

  • The tree can be removed under the Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of PracticeClick here to find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area.

  • The tree has fallen or partially fallen as a result of a storm and still presents a danger. You will need to provide photographic evidence (before removal), property owner details and the location to Council.

Pruning is exempt for up to 20 percent of the canopy and for branches no larger than 50mm in diameter.

If you are using an exemption, all the works must be in accordance with the Australian Standard for Pruning Amenity Trees AS4373-2007.

Please note - these exemptions may not apply to all zones. Contact our Customer Service team if you are unsure of the zoning requirements of your property.

A proposed tree removal needs a Development Application if it is related to a development such as a proposed residence, extension or other construction or subdivision.

Any application under the Vegetation SEPP that involves development will be rejected.

There are exemptions that can be applied if a tree appears to be dangerous. These are:

  • The tree is considered of high risk/imminent danger and certified by a level 5 qualified arborist.
  • The tree is dead or dying and not required as the habitat for native animals.

Before removal, it will need to be certified by a Level 5 qualified arborist and evidence in the form of a photograph or report must be provided to Council.

The owner will need to obtain written confirmation from the arborist that clearly states the arborist’s qualifications (AQF Level 5 Arborist or equivalent), that the tree(s) is declared an imminent danger and high risk to life and property, and that immediate removal of the tree(s) is recommended. This report must be provided to Council before removal.

Risks that are imminently dangerous include:

  • Evidence of soil heave or cracking.
  • Loss of structural roots or root decay.
  • Storm damage.
  • Structural defects, such as splitting branches or trunk.

If it is found that the tree does not pose an immediate hazard you will have to apply for a permit by completing the Application for Tree Removal or Pruning Form that can be accessed on our Forms A - Z page.

 If Council is not satisfied that the tree was presenting an imminent risk and it is removed without a permit, fines may be issued and legal action may be pursued.

If your property is heritage listed or is in a heritage conservation area you must acquire a Council issued permit to remove or prune a tree.

You will also need to submit an Application for Minor Works for Heritage Items which can be found on our Forms A - Z page.

If you're unsure whether your property is heritage listed or in a heritage conservation area, view the Heritage page in the Development section on our website for heritage maps and more information.