New State legislation makes dealing with trees on your property even more confusing. Make sure you get it right. If you don’t you could be fined tens of thousands of dollars.
Traditionally, the legislation covering the removal of trees on your property has been the local Council’s Tree Preservation Order. More recently, new legislation (known as 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice) has been enacted. In addition, your land may be covered the Native Vegetation Act or the Threatened Species Conservation Act.
This new legislation makes the removal of trees and vegetation that much more complex. Get it wrong and you may pay (big time).
The best advice is to confer with your local Council before cutting down any tree on your property.
Willoughby City Council is seeking exemptions from the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code that came into effect this month in an effort to ensure the preservation of harbour-side bushland.
The code can allow people living within 350 metres of designated bushfire zone areas to clear trees on their property within 10 metres of their home and vegetation within 50 metres without approval, with no distinction between bushland and urban areas. The code does not take threatened species or endangered ecological communities into consideration, however, properties containing aboriginal heritage or that have slopes of more than 18 degrees require further assessment and approval.
“Our community is very concerned about the impact this may have on our City. Willoughby is home to many unique and historic trees that add to the character of local neighbourhoods. We are now at risk of losing this heritage,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.
“This blanket code has been introduced without taking the uniqueness and needs of individual council areas into consideration,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.
“The intent of the code to protect homes from bushfires is very important; however, this issue needs to be addressed differently in urban areas like Willoughby compared to rural areas such as the Blue Mountains.
Willoughby Council is a member of the district Bushfire Management Committee and manages its annual bushfire hazard reduction program in accordance with the Bushfire Risk Management Plan and can advise residents on bushfire management. Residents with any concerns about bushfire risk should contact council on 9777 1000.