The Blue Mountains is a beautiful place to live. A big part of that feeling in the residential areas is the retention and maintenance of our trees. To help preserve that status, there are a collection of regulations governing how we can go about pruning and removing trees.
Most people have heard of the 10/50 clearing laws, although not all of us are exactly sure what they might allow us to do. Here's a quick overview.
The 10/50 scheme is designed to help home owners living in high fire danger areas manage the vegetation around their home. In a nutshell - if you live in a 10/50 zone, you can remove trees within 10 metres of your home, and shrubs within 50 metres of your home. However, not all of us live in a 10/50 zone. The RFS website has a simple tool to allow you to check:
Some quick pointers - measurements are from the centre of the trunk, to an external wall of the building. If the plant is taller than 3m, it's a tree (otherwise, it's a shrub). The 10/50 rules do not allow you to grind stumps. Of course, there are little technicalities surrounding all of this (what kind of buildings count, and very precise definitions of "a tree", dealing with neighbour's trees...) - you can read all the fine details on the RFS 10/50 FAQ page.
Blue Mountains City Council
So, what happens if your property is not in a 10/50 zone? You'll probably need to apply for a permit from the council.
The BMCC maintains a set of regulations - the Tree Preservation Order - governing what we can do with our trees. (It wouldn't be the Blueys without trees!) All the fine details can be found on the BMCC Trees and vegetation on private land page, but basically you'll need a permit to remove OR prune a living tree if it's taller than 4 metres. You won't need a permit to remove dead or hazardous trees, trees on the council's weeds list, or to prune dead or broken limbs.
Click here to download a copy of the council's Tree Removal Application (or grab it from their website link above). As of 2018 you can also create an account with council and lodge an application online - choose the "Lodge" option here. There is of course a fee applicable for lodging a permit application, which is detailed in the link above. (Note - there's also a BIG penalty for removing trees without a permit!)
We're here to help
It can sometimes be a bit tricky to apply the rules and be sure of what you can and cannot do. Aerialist Tree Services have plenty of experience in this area, and we're happy to come and take a look at your property and offer advice and guidance if needed.
Drop us a call or an email, and we'll come by and help you out.