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

When planning on undertaking vegetation management the first thing you will need to do is determine if the vegetation management you are proposing is already permissible. You may have an existing Development Approval (DA) that allows for the vegetation to be removed in accordance with your conditions of consent. 


10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code

Land may 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.

Rural Zoned Land

If the land is rural (zoned RU1 or RU2, RU4) Local Land Services will need to be consulted in relation to native vegetation removal or management.  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.

Singleton Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP)

If your property is zoned one of the below then Council is most likely the regulatory authority.

a)    R1 General Residential
b)    R2 Low Density Residential
c)    R5 Large Lot Residential
d)    RU5 Village
e)    B3 Commercial Core
f)    B4 Mixed Use
g)    B5 Business Development
h)    B6 Enterprise Corridor
i)    IN3 Heavy Industrial
j)    E4 Environmental Living
k)   RE1 Public Recreation
l)    RE2 Private Recreation 

As per the DCP there are a number of reasons where approval isn’t required from Council and these include the height of the vegetation and proximity to a dwelling or approved structure (Section 2.17 (5) and (6)). Information regarding vegetation removal or pruning can be found in Section 2.17 Vegetation Management of the DCP which should be reviewed before proceeding further.

Tree Removal Permit

If none of the above apply, then a Tree Removal Permit will be required. There are two exemptions from a tree removal permit, these include:

a)    vegetation is dead or dying and not habitat for native animals, or
b)    vegetation is a risk to human life or property. 

The following justifications are not considered to be reasonable clearing scenarios: 

a)    where the vegetation is dropping leaves, twigs, fruit or nuts,
b)    where the vegetation is interfering with availability of natural light,
c)    where the vegetation is interfering with views, or
d)    where the vegetation is shading your property.  

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 (Threatened Species, Hollow Bearing Tree or Nest present)



Consideration of the area clearing thresholds#

Biodiversity Management Plan


Landscape Plan









* May be required. Please consult with Council’s Planning and Development staff to ascertain if this information is required. This information is available in the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool.

If the trees are a threatened species or contain hollows or other habitat an ecological assessment and a Biodiversity Conservation Licence may also be required. Depending on the extent and significance of the vegetation to be removed compensatory planting or management of retained vegetation may be requested and will require the development of a biodiversity management plan or landscape plan.

Exempt and Complying Development

For a permit to remove trees for Exempt and/or Complying Development the applicant will need to provide the information listed in the right-hand column.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in non-rural areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP)

If the vegetation removal proposed is not regulated by the DCP or through a development approval, then the Vegetation SEPP is the approval pathway.