Tree Removal & Pruning

Do you need a private tree removed or pruned?

Trees are protected in Fairfield City, so removing a tree requires council approval. Pruning can also require council approval. To receive council approval you need to apply for a tree work permit.

What is a Tree?

Fairfield City Council complying with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and protecting the amenity of Fairfield City for its residents has in place a Local Environment Plan 2013 (LEP). Under the provisions of Fairfield LEP 2013 (Clause 5.9), a Tree Work Permit is required to be issued by Council for cutting down, topping, lopping, pruning, ringbarking or removing a tree. The exception is that approval is not required for the removal of limited undesirable trees and plants (Schedule List A & B)


Tree's on Public Land

Residents are not authorised to remove or prune Street Trees or other Trees on public property (parks, sportsfields, laneways).

  • If you need to report a concern with a Street Tree or park tree, please click complete this form Reporting Issues (Service Requests)
  • If you wish to remove a street tree as part of construction works (driveway or other works) this must be included as part of your Development Application. (The cost to remove a street tree will be borne by the applicant). 

Trees on Private Land

If you wish to remove or prune a tree on private land you must complete a Tree Work Permit below or the tree needs to be an exempt species.

Council will generally approve an application to prune or remove a tree if;

  • To remove completely dead trees and dead branches
  • To remove diseased or unhealthy trees which are not expected to survive
  • To prune or remove trees which are considered a safety hazard (i.e.pedestrian/vehicular sight line impairment)
  • Where a tree has caused extensive structural damage and there are no repair alternatives

All approved pruning must be done with due regard to the health of the tree, correct pruning techniques and the safety of nearby people and property. All approved pruning work must be done to Australian Standard AS4373-2007 - Pruning of Amenity Trees.

Council will not normally give approval to prune or remove a tree if;

  • To improve views For minor property damage such as minor lifting of driveways and paths by tree roots
  • Because trees are creating a nuisance by shedding leaves, fruit, bark, cones or twigs
  • Because trees are overshadowing. Increasing solar access will not be considered sufficient reason to remove a tree. Council may approve selective thinning of the canopy
  • To rectify/prevent termite damage – as termites eat only dead wood, removing or pruning an otherwise healthy tree is not a justifiable reason for tree works. Termite damage to private property can be inhibited by appropriate barrier treatment and regular pest inspections by a certified pest inspector.







Neighbours Tree


Disputes over trees

Disputes over trees can sometimes arise between neighbours, for example, if tree roots or branches are damaging a shared fence. In such situations, the first step is always to discuss the problem with your neighbour.

Try to negotiate a solution that satisfies you both. We cannot step in to resolve disputes over trees. Under NSW laws, councils do not have the authority to order a resident to prune or remove a tree, if it's impacting on a neighbouring property.

Disputes between neighbours need to be resolved between the parties. If an agreement can’t be reached, the next step is mediation, organised by a Community Justice Centre or legal action in the Land and Environment Court.


Community Justice Centres provide free mediation services to people across NSW. If you and a neighbour are locked in a dispute over a tree, mediation is a practical alternative to legal action. A trained mediator will meet with you and your neighbour to discuss the problem and help you to resolve it.

Legal action

If mediation fails, property owners can apply to the NSW Land and Environment Court to resolve the matter. Under NSW law, the court can make orders to “remedy, restrain or prevent damage to a property” (or injury to a person) caused by a tree on adjoining land. The court may also order compensation for damage already caused by a tree.

You can only apply to the court if you've already made a reasonable attempt to resolve the situation. Check the Land and Environment Court’s website before you consider making an application.

Please note, this information and the relevant law (Tree (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006) only applies to trees on private property. If you have concerns about a tree located on council land, contact us.


Trees and Plumbing

  • Local Government is not responsible for plumbing on private property. The property owner is responsible for the good order and maintenance of plumbing.
  • Council does give consideration to an insurance claim. The onus of proof is with the property owner in any claim and part of this process will require the visual inspection of the section of pipe where the blockage has occurred by a Council Officer. The cost of the excavation to expose the blocked section is borne by the applicant.
  • Council investigates all complaints, makes an informed decision and will advise the person who lodged the complaint accordingly.

For more information on wastewater blockages from Sydney Water please visit their webpage Wastewater blockages (





Below is a step-by-step guide for anyone interested in removing or pruning a private tree, including how to get a tree work permit.

Please note: Penalties apply if a tree is damaged or removed without a tree work permit.


Before applying for a tree work permit for a tree for your property you should first confirm that removing the tree is the best course of action. Below are a series of steps to consider before deciding on a course of action.

Step 1.Can the problem be fixed with pruning?

Sometimes a problem tree simply needs a bit of a clean up. If this is the case, Fairfield City Council has some helpful tree pruning guidelines for you to download:

Tree pruning guidelines(PDF, 120KB)

Please note that pruning a tree may also require a tree work permit if the tree has a height of over 4 metres or a branch span of over 3 metres. For more information on pruning or removing a tree, contact Council's Tree Preservation Officer on 02 9725 0395.

Step 2.Is the tree interfering with a power line?

Energy companies are responsible for tree pruning around power lines. If you need a tree around a power line trimmed call Endeavour Energy on 133 718.

Step 3.Is the tree outside of your property?

If the tree is on public land you can notify Council of the problem and a parks officer will investigate the problem.

If the tree is on a neighbour's land, then you will need to discuss the matter with your neighbour. Council needs the consent of the owner to remove or prune a tree. For more information about this please read our Neighbouring Trees document:

Neighbouring trees(PDF, 283KB)

Step 4.Is the tree on your property?

For more information about the Council's tree removal consideration process you can read our Tree Preservation document:

Tree preservation(PDF, 163KB)
Trees and plumbing(PDF, 346KB)
Biodiversity Offsets Scheme(PDF, 1MB)

Step 5.There are fees associated with submitting a tree work permit

After considering the above points, you may still think a tree work permit is the right course of action. Below is a list of fees associated with a tree work permit:

Inspection fee: $75 per tree
Pensioner inspection fee: $39 per tree
Review fee (i.e. application is for a Review of Arborist report): $38

Follow the link below to apply for a Tree Work Permit.

Tree Work Permit Application