10/50 Vegetation Clearing

In 2014, laws came into effect which allows some property owners living in designated Bushfire Prone 10/50 Entitlement Areas to prune or remove1 trees growing on their property that are within 10m of their home, and remove other vegetation on their property (excluding trees) growing within 50m of their home.

Providing certain conditions are met (as outlined in the 10/50 Vegetation Clearance Code of Practice), these actions may take place without requiring Council consent.

Residents should note that tree removal is NOT permitted on properties where the slope angle is 18 degrees or greater. Using highly accurate LiDAR imagery, Council has mapped all properties within the 10/50 zone that are affected by slope constraints. Residents are strongly advised to contact Council and check the status of their property before proceeding with any tree removal.

These laws are designed to allow residents living in highly vulnerable bushfire prone areas greater flexibility in the management of trees and vegetation on their own property, as part of an integrated bushfire survival plan. Use of the code for non-bushfire related purposes (i.e. to address nuisance leaf drop, shading etc) is not in keeping with the legislations intent.

This new law is known as the 10/50 law.

The laws have been broadly applied across NSW without consideration for the actual bushfire threat posed by small, fragmented urban bushland characteristic of North Sydney. The following information is provided to assist the community:

  • Residents should visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and self assess whether their property is within the 10/50 Vegetation Clearance Entitlement Area using an online mapping tool.
  • The 10/50 Vegetation Clearance Code of Practice, also available on the RFS website, must be read in full and all conditions must be complied with prior to any tree or vegetation removal. Breaches of the Code may result in legal action by Council.
  • Tree removal is NOT permitted where the property slope angle is 18 degrees or greater. Residents should contact Council on 9936 8100 to check if their property is affected by this condition.
  • Regarding trees on public land:
    land owner’s consent is required; there is no obligation for Council to allow removal or pruning of trees or vegetation. Residents are not permitted to remove vegetation or trees on Council land; they are entitled to prune canopies within 10m of a habitable building in conjunction with the points below.
  • Any works required to be carried out on publicly owned trees, where access is required from public land, prior written approval from Council must be obtained through a Reserve Access Application. Contact Council’s Parks Manager for more information.
  • Pruning of public trees from private property – Council strongly recommends that a tree permit assessment is obtained from Council to ensure works conform to the 10/50 Vegetation Removal Code of Practice and relevant Australian Standards. This will also ensure that trees maintain their structural integrity and limit future management issues.
  • Any works carried out not in accordance with Australian Standard 4373 are in breach of the RFS 10/50 Code of Practice as well as Council’s tree preservation DCP. All breaches will be investigated by Council and may result in prosecution and/or penalties imposed upon the contractor and/or those responsible for their engagement.
  • Property owners are under no obligation to remove or prune trees on their private land.
  • Residents concerned about the negative effects of the legislation should make a submission to NSW Rural Fire Service at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au attention to RFS Commissioner.
  • North Sydney Council actively manages all its bushland reserves for the purpose of biodiversity conservation and bushfire mitigation. As part of the Manly-Mosman-North Sydney Bushfire Management Committee, Council implements ongoing hazard reduction actions in accordance with the Manly-Mosman-North Sydney Bushfire Risk Management Plan.
  • If a resident has a genuine bushfire concern the process is to send correspondence in writing to Council or the RFS. The RFS will inspect the fire complaint and provide feedback to both the resident and Council.
  • More information on Fire Management in Bushland Areas.

For further information, contact Council’s Bushland Management Coordinator on 9936 8100

1In accordance with the code, trees may only be removed if the trunk is located within 10m of your home