Ku-ring-gai Council is taking a firmer stance on protecting trees by implementing stricter regulations on tree removals. 

The move follows a rise in tree poisoning and illegal removals across the leafy North Shore in the past year. Responding to concerned residents’ calls for tougher penalties, Ku-ring-gai Council has taken action.

Under the new measures, residents who illegally cut down trees in violation of their development approvals (DAs) or complying development certificates (CDCs) will face harsher penalties. In addition to fines, they will now be required to plant a similar tree as a replacement.

In NSW, fines for illegally removing a tree can vary. The amount depends on the specifics, like the size, type, location, and whether the tree is protected. Local councils or government bodies decide the penalty on a case-by-case basis. 

Image: Ku-ring-gai Council

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the maximum fine for illegal tree removal in NSW is $1.1 million for a corporation and $220,000 for an individual, if the case went to the Land and Environment court. 

Ku-ring-gai prides itself on having more trees than most council areas in Sydney, with a current canopy cover of 45 per cent. The council’s target for its tree canopy is to grow to 49 per cent by 2036, which means an additional 44 thousand trees planted in Ku-ring-gai. 

The council emphasises that residents undertaking any work on their land can expect increased scrutiny to ensure compliance with their development approvals. 

“We will not be deterred by people who cut down trees to improve views or home value in violation of their development approval,” says a statement from the council.  

The council encourages residents to be proactive in protecting the tree canopy. Residents are advised to:

  • Review their DAs or CDCs: This will help them understand any tree-related restrictions specific to their property.
  • Contact Ku-ring-gai Council: If they have any questions or uncertainties regarding tree removal or trimming regulations, they are urged to contact the council directly for clarification.

Council’s tree replacement measures have already come into effect. For more information about trees, go to the Ku-ring-Gai Council website or contact the Council on 9424 0000.

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