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    Remove trees without a council permit

    10-50 rules are in force to give land owners permission to remove vegetation without local government permission, if the property occurs in a designated bush fire zone and it meets the 10 to 50 metre criteria

    Buildings that the 10/50 rule cover

    The buildings that the rule cover include, the external walls of buildings that have habitable rooms including homes and visitors accommodation buildings. Manufactured homes, caravans within the parks, and tourists’ rooms are also covered by the rule.

    Facilities such as child care centres, hospitals, and schools are also covered by the rule. Vegetation around these facilities should be controlled through the rule.

    How and where to measure the 10 or 50 meters rule

    10-50 Tree removal sutherland shire sydney

    The rule requires a measurement of 10 to 50 meters from the external walls of the building in

    question. The measurement should be made from even the permanent decks or garages that are connected to the building provided they are permanent. Detached structures including decks and garages are not included during the measurement.

    The measurement begins with rooms that are approved as habitable rooms through development consent or any other legally recognized authority. If the building was constructed without the consents of these bodies, then they are not recognized by law and the rule does not apply.

    What is a tree according to 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area rule

    A tree is any permanent wood plant that lies within the area. It is further defined to have a single stem that exceeds three meters high. The tree should also have a circumference of more than 30 centimetres at the chest height.

    A shrub is not a tree under these circumstances. Any small low growing woody plant that has many stems or a vine that requires support to grow is a shrub and is not considered as a tree. The provision also allows you only to remove trees that lie within a 10-meter radius of the building.

    When pruning or removing a tree, you should ensure that the process is done safely. You may consider getting the services of a professional. There are trained tree removal services that can do the work for you in a better way. Specialists such as the National Arborist Association of Australia, Arboriculture Australia, and Tree Contractors Association Australia can do the work for you.

    For you to remove a tree in Australia, you need a trade license. Ensure that whoever is doing the tree removal as a professional for you has a trade license. This is the best way to known that you have involved a professional in the duty.


    Other considerations

    Land that are on a slope are not covered under the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area because of the level of erosion within these lands. Trees are essential in holding the soil together. It is for this reason that they vegetation should not be cut for property that are within slopes.

    If you have leased your property or rented a property, the same rule that the 10/50 Vegetation Entitlement Area applies to the landowner holds. Unless you are the landowner or have received directives from the land owner can you apply the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area rule.

    There are no restrictions on the clearing methods. However, you cannot use methods that will interfere with the soil profile. Bulldozers, graders, and ploughs are not allowed during clearing. In addition, clearing the vegetation through burning is not allowed. You can just cut down the trees.

    If the vegetation exists within 10 meters of a prescribed stream, the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area rule does not apply. You are not allowed to clear vegetation based on these areas. Neither are you allowed to clear vegetation that are within a heritage property. You can use an online tool to assess whether your property lies within any of these conditions.

    In NSW, new laws have been instituted to help people prepare their homes for bush fires. An online tool has been developed to help you assess whether property is within the required 10/50 vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area requirement.


    These laws are based on the 10/50 vegetation Clearing Code of Practice guide

    Code of Practice

    The new laws provide that people in the designated 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area have. You do not need approval to have clear trees on the property within 10 meters of the home. You can clear the vegetation such as shrubs on the property that is within 50 meters without any approval from the authorities.

    Restriction on the application of 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area
    Nevertheless, there are restrictions that apply. These restrictions are mainly focused on properties that are on Aboriginal or cultural associated land and those properties that lie within slopes. It is important to note that the rule focuses on properties that are within the designated 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area whether private or public land.

    Who should apply the rule

    The rule on clearing is directed to the landowner alone. Unless you have direction from the landowner, the rule does not address you.

    Knowing if your property is on the entitlement area

    To know if your property is within the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing entitlement area all you need to do is a search on your property. You can then locate whether your property is listed among those that are within the entitlement area.

    If your property is within the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, you are entitled to clear the vegetation not required to clear it. It does not mean that you have a directive to clear the vegetation. If you have concern regarding the push fire hazard that your vegetation poses, you should feel free to consult the local NSW RFS officers. They should be able to advice you on the way forward with your particular situation.

    If the vegetation is next to you but on the neighbouring block, you should know that the rule applies only to your property. You will thus be required to consult your neighbours before taking any action. They can only clear the vegetation if their property is within the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area.

    If you feel that your neighbours’ vegetation is a fire hazard and they have not moved to prune it, then all you can do is report or make a hazard complaint to the local NSW RFS District Office and wait for them to act on the complaint.