Shellharbour City Council is committed to the long-term management of the urban forest including trees on Council’s open spaces, road reserves and other public areas. The preservation of existing trees contributes to the amenity and environment of Shellharbour City.

How does Council assess tree pruning and removal requests?

Customer pruning and removal requests related to trees on Council managed land are assessed at the point of inspection using a risk-based approach. The risk of the tree determines the priority and resolution timeframe, which include:

  1. URGENT: Tree is impacting on people, property or infrastructure. This includes, for example, fallen tree blocking road, responding to major weather events. Expected resolution timeframe: As soon as practically possible.
  2. HIGH: High risk of tree impacting on people, property or infrastructure. This includes, for example, tree and/or branch at risk of potentially falling on road, building or power lines. Expected resolution timeframe: Within 2 weeks of inspection.
  3. MODERATE: Moderate risk of tree impacting on people, property or infrastructure. This includes, for example, tree that requires pruning or removal with moderate probability of failure, or minor pruning of lower limbs of street tree for roadside clearance. Expected resolution timeframe: Within 3 months of inspection.
  4. LOW: No or low risk of tree impacting on people, property or infrastructure. This includes, for example, trees in reserve with no potential impacts or tree limb with a very low probability of failure. The expected resolution timeframe is 3 to 6 months from inspection.

Removal of a tree will not be the first option considered. Where possible, alternative actions will be undertaken including selective pruning, bracing, engineering solutions or partial removal.

What are common reasons for pruning and removing trees on Council land?

  • Remove any dead, dying or dangerous branches.
  • Allow clearance for pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Allow for greater visibility when exiting driveway.
  • Allow clearance to buildings (dependent on site constraints).
  • Improve their health and structure.

All approved pruning will be carried out in accordance with Australian Standards 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

What reasons are not justified for pruning or removal?

The following reasons are not significant considerations in determining if a tree will be pruned or removed:

  • Improvement of views
  • Drop of unwanted materials (such as leaf or seed drop)
  • Interference with other private structures
  • Pruning will be considered for the shading of solar panels, but not removal. A shade graph is submitted showing the anticipated amount of sunlight has been accurately identified prior to installation of the solar panels including anticipated natural growth.

Follow up tree requests regarding the same matter will not be investigated by Council unless additional information is provided.

What does Council consider during tree inspections?

Each tree is assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate action. Removal of a tree is the last resort.

Key considers during the inspection include:

  • The health and structural condition of the tree/s
  • The level of risk the tree poses which cannot be managed through pruning or other risk mitigation measures
  • If the tree is causing significant damage to public infrastructure,
  • If the tree is causing significant damage to structures on private property (Please note that evidence to support claim of the damage caused is required to be supplied at owners' expense)

How does Council replace street trees?

Street trees are one of the most important natural assets in our area and we are committed to maintaining and increasing our urban canopy.

Council strives to replace what we take away, if your street tree cannot be replaced in the same spot, we aim to replant in one of or parks or open spaces.

You can request a street tree to be planted directly outside your property. If you would like to do so, contact Council and we will determine if the site is suitable. Council will not plant trees to stop cars from parking on the nature strip.

How do I make a request to prune, remove, or plant a tree located on Council land?

For all requests relating to the pruning, removal, or planting of trees located on Council land please contact us by lodging a report online, calling (02) 4221 6111, or by emailing

Last updated : Mon 27 Nov 2023