Vegetation Management Policy, Guidelines and Development Control Plan DCP

Greener spaces make better urban places.

Willoughby City Council wants to hear your thoughts about the following three key draft vegetation documents before 5pm, Thursday 5 December 2019:

  • Vegetation Management Policy
  • Vegetation Management Guidelines, and
  • changes to the Vegetation Management in Part c.9 of the Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) .

Please take a few minutes to review the documents in the 'Supportive Information' section of the page and complete any of the relevant submission forms below.

Council has received thousands of community comments about the importance of green space and the value of trees. These values were reinforced

Greener spaces make better urban places.

Willoughby City Council wants to hear your thoughts about the following three key draft vegetation documents before 5pm, Thursday 5 December 2019:

  • Vegetation Management Policy
  • Vegetation Management Guidelines, and
  • changes to the Vegetation Management in Part c.9 of the Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) .

Please take a few minutes to review the documents in the 'Supportive Information' section of the page and complete any of the relevant submission forms below.

Council has received thousands of community comments about the importance of green space and the value of trees. These values were reinforced during community engagement in development of Council’s Community Strategic Plan, Our Future Willoughby 2028 and the Sustainability Action Plan, Our Green City Plan 2028.

Council is proud of our natural environment so it’s important we get a good balance between canopy retention, population demands for housing and development and community concern about tree safety.

Our Vegetation Management Policy and Vegetation Management Guidelines aim to protect and maintain our green urban spaces while managing safety risks.

The Vegetation Management Policy brings together existing policy documents around vegetation management and addresses gaps in policy and procedure through a review of the Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) and the introduction of Vegetation Management Guidelines as part of the suite of documents.

The documents that the Vegetation Management Policy brings together include:

  • Volume 1: Urban Tree Management Policy. (Adopted. Not included in this consultation)
  • Volume 2: Vegetation Management Guidelines.
  • Volume 3: Willoughby Street Tree Master Plan. (Adopted. Not included in this consultation)
  • Volume 4: Willoughby Natural Heritage Register. (Adopted. Not included in this consultation)

Written submissions should be addressed to the General Manager, PO Box 57, Chatswood NSW 2057 or email to email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au

Please note: Comments will be included in publications or reports at the end of the consultation. Personal information will not be included.

What’s changed?

Key change of Part C.9 Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management in Part c.9 of the Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) has been reviewed. Based on community feedback, changes now include making it easier for residents to carry out routine maintenance of trees and vegetation without the need for Council approval under most conditions. This includes an exemption for pruning of up to 10% over a 5 year period. This exemption will allow residents to prune branches back from homes and solar panels and carry out other maintenance tasks without needing to apply for a permit. This change has also been extended to cover all areas, regardless of land use zoning.

An expanded list of undesirable trees has also been included for trees exempt of removal without a permit.

Consolidation of various policies

Several smaller vegetation related policies have been incorporated into the guidelines or removed where they are no longer required due to other policy or overriding legislation. These include:

  • Naturestrips in Willoughby
  • Noxious Weed Bamboo Policy
  • Removal of Trees on Public Land Policy
  • Street Tree Pruning Policy
  • Street Trees Policy
  • Community Gardens Policy
  • Temporary Access Over Community Land


Introduction of Tree Risk Assessment Methodology

Where personal or property safety is given as a reason for tree removal, it is recommended that the internationally recognised Tree Risk Assessment Qualification methodology (TRAQ), which places safety risk as a primary and overriding consideration, be introduced for the assessment of trees by Council officers. Council officers will complete additional training and external certification in the application of this standard methodology.

Tree Offset Planting

To minimise the impact of tree loss on private land, a replacement and offset planting program is proposed. This program will help balance the need for reasonable development and landowners’ expectations against the loss of amenity and gradual loss of tree canopy cover throughout Willoughby.

The offset planting requirements will apply when there is insufficient space to accommodate replacement trees on private property and will require the applicant to enter into a deed of agreement with Council for the replanting of replacement trees on public land. Fees apply for this planting and have been set so that they cover the cost of the supply of an advanced tree, planting and maintenance for a 2 year period. The fee will be on a per tree basis and initially set at $2000 per tree. A pensioner concession fee of $400 per tree will be applied to eligible applicants.

Similar offset planting schemes are offered by other Councils including Sutherland Shire Council and Georges River Council.

Tree Replacement Conditions

Where removal of vegetation is approved, replacement planting will be conditioned at a ratio of 3:1. This ratio applies to removal of private and public trees.

Volunteer Program

It is proposed to investigate a volunteer program that can provide assistance dealing with tree maintenance issues that occur from natural processes such as leaf or fruit drop. Interest in such a program will be gauged as part of the community consultation and the program details established if there is such an interest.

A volunteer program may involve neighbours or service providers that may be able to help residents that are physically unable to carry out maintenance tasks such as sweeping of pathways to remove leaves and seed pods. These tasks are often seasonal and only required for a short period of time.

Trimming for Views

The amended policy gives consideration to the trimming of public trees to maintain historic views, provided certain conditions can be met and the health of the vegetation isn’t jeopardised.

Policy Submissions

Please take a minute to let us know your thoughts about the draft Vegetation Management Policy.

Please note: Comments will be included in publications or reports at the end of the consultation. Personal information will not be included.

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