Tree Inspections

For most trees, before you prune or remove it from your residential or business property you must apply for permission from the Botany Bay City Council. 

A Tree Permit Application is not required for the removal or pruning of:

  • Trees declared a noxious weed species in the Botany Bay Local Government Area under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993
  • Trees that meet criteria under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 Reg. 3.6A;
  • Trees near domestic power or telecommunications lines to maintain line distance clearance where the work is a maximum distance clearance of 500mm of branches up to 50mm diameter at the nearest branch collar (Branch collar is the point of attachment to another branch/trunk). Work must be carried out by an experienced Arborist or Tree Surgeon.
  • Trees near buildings with a maximum distance clearance of 1 metre (pruning only) measured from the wall or roof of the building’s edge and of branches up to 50mm in diameter at the nearest branch collar. (Branch collar is the point of attachment to another branch/trunk);  
  • or the following exempt species:

Botanical name

Common name

Ailanthus altissima

Tree of Heaven

Bambusa spp. etc

Bamboo varieties

Cinnamomum camphora

Camphor Laurel

Note: Only trees under 5 metres high

Citrus spp.

Lemon, Orange, Mandarin

Cotoneaster spp.


Erythrina spp.

Coral Tree

Note: Only trees under 5 metres high

Ficus elastica

Rubber Tree

Morus alba


Nerium oleander


Olea africana

Olea europaea

Wild/African Olive

European Olive

Prunus spp.

(fruiting species)

Fruiting species only (Peach, Plum, Apricot, Cherry).

Note: Does not apply to ornamental varieties.

Pyrus spp.

(fruiting species)

Fruiting species only (Pear).

Note: Does not apply to ornamental varieties.

Schefflera actinophylla

Umbrella Tree

Note: The above exemptions do not apply to trees upon land in a Heritage Conservation Areas or on land in which a listed Heritage Item is located or any tree listed on a Significant Tree List.

How to Apply for Council Approval

There are two types of applications for tree inspections:

1. Inspections of Trees on Private Property

 Applications forms must be submitted, with a cheque at the Council Administrative Building at 141 Coward St, Mascot.

2. Inspection of Street Trees

Request a Street Tree Inspection by reporting it online, sending us an email, calling us on 02 9366 3666 or sending a letter to PO Box, Mascot, NSW, 1460. 

What Council Considers When Making a Decision

The following matters are considered by Council when assessing a Tree Works Permit application or Development Application requiring the removal or pruning of existing trees or vegetation:

  • Significance or value (amenity, aesthetic, environmental) of the tree/s;
  • Heritage listing and value
  • Impact on local biodiversity, wildlife habitats or corridors, urban tree canopy, visual and aesthetic values and environmental amenity
  • Health or condition of the tree/s or vegetation
  • Structural condition and characteristics of the tree
  • Proximity to and interference with (current or potential) existing or proposed buildings, structures, utilities or vehicle sightlines
  • Impact on the reasonable amenity of any person or property
  • Public safety and nuisance
  • Overhanging branches. The Tree Preservation Order prohibits pruning of prescribed trees to boundary lines without a Council permit. Council will determine how much of the tree can be pruned based on existing or likely structural damage and so as not to compromise the habit, structure or aesthetics of the tree
  • Impact on the development potential of the land
  • Whether the tree will be adversely impacted by a development proposal (its canopy and/or root system) and whether alternatives have been considered for building or structure layout, size or siting
  • Whether the clearing of vegetation or work near it directly or indirectly impacts on a vegetation community protected by state or federal legislation
  • Whether alternative solutions have been fully investigated to retain the tree or minimize pruning.
  • Specialist reports  and previous history.

Decision Review Process

A $200 fee is payable for a Review of Determination.

If Approval is Granted

All Council approved tree work must be carried out in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373: 2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees, AS4970: 2009 - Protection of Trees on Development Sites and WorkCover NSW Code of Practice ‘Amenity Tree Industry’ - 1998.

Suitable replacement tree/s may be a condition of consent and required to be planted on the property by the property owner or applicant.  Council will stipulate the minimum acceptable replacement size tree/s, number of trees and may recommend suitable species.  Replacement tree are to be planted with consideration of the location of boundary fences, walls, pipes and buildings.

Engaging an Arborist

Working with trees can be dangerous and often requires the skills of an expert. It is important to hire appropriately qualified people to carry out tree works.

Once you have obtained permission to undertake tree works, look for an Arborist who has insurance and holds Australian Qualifying Framework Level 3 qualification or equivalent in Horticulture (Arboriculture). This ensures that the work is done in accordance with the Australian Standards.

The links below direct you to a list of Associations that have suitably qualified Arborists as their members:


Tree pruning or removal carried out on private land without a Council permit or approval, or not in accordance with a permit or approval, may attract fines or incur legal action under the