Trees and vegetation

Vegetation clearing in NSW is managed under the following legislation:

  • Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016
  • Local Land Services Act 2013
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-rural Areas) 2017

In addition, there are policies and guidelines that provide further details on vegetation clearing. These are:

  • Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017
  • Biodiversity Conservation (Savings & Transition) Regulation 2017
  • Local Land Services Regulation 2014
  • Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2017
  • Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000
  • 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice 
  • Singleton Development Control Plan 2014

State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP) regulates clearing not associated with an activity requiring development consent with a permit through the Singleton Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP).

A permit may be issued for clearing of prescribed vegetation in the following zones:

  • R1 General Residential,
  • R2 Low Density Residential,
  • R5 Large Lot Residential,
  • B3 Commercial Core,
  • B4 Mixed Use,
  • B5 Business Development,
  • B6 Enterprise Corridor,

Two exemptions apply to requiring a permit under the Vegetation SEPP.  These are:

  • Where the vegetation is dead or dying, or
  • Where the vegetation poses a risk to human life or property. 

Further information regarding permits can be found in Section 2.17 Vegetation Management within the DCP. 

The following information is required to accompany an application for an exemption or a permit:




Arborist Report
Hollow Tree Assessment
Consideration of Biodiversity Values Map
Ecology Review●*●*
Consideration of the area clearing thresholds
Vegetation Management Plan
Landscape Plan

* May be required. Please consult with Planning and Development staff to ascertain if this information is required. 

Even if Council does not need to issue a permit for clearing, for example if the land is rural (zoned RU1 or RU2, RU4) or is within a zone not covered by the DCP additional approvals may be required.

Local Land Services will need to be consulted in relation to native vegetation on rural land.  Exemptions exists for some clearing authorised for certain allowable activities. Clearing may also be permitted under the Land Management Code to remove invasive native species, expand pastures, maintain continued use of land, allow for equity of land use or is necessary as part of farm planning.

In addition to the above, additional permits from Local Land Services or the Office of Environment and Heritage may be required in certain circumstances.  Where vegetation is not prescribed by the DCP a Biodiversity Conservation License from the Office of Environment and Heritage may be required.    

Land may also be cleared for bushfire safety purposes under the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice. Landholders will need to check if the land they wish to clear for bushfire safety is in a designated area by using the online tool.