Trees on Public Land

What we do

Shoalhaven City Council recognises the value of trees for their visual enrichment, shade, fauna habitat, soil stability, and erosion protection.

We place high importance on the protection and retention of trees and bushland across our beautiful region and value the contribution trees make to our natural and built environment. In our urban areas trees add to the look and feel of our city and are a link between our built environment and our Reserves and natural areas. We also recognise the need to remove or prune trees when circumstances require it to protect life and property.

Shoalhaven City Council carries out tree management responsibilities and programs on public, Council-managed land across the Shoalhaven to protect and manage our natural environment and enhance our landscape.  

If any trees on public, Council-managed land are causing you concern or affecting your property you can report it to us, we will inspect them and provide a response.

How we assess tree works

When assessing trees on public land, our Arborist will consider:

  • How healthy the tree is and if there’s a risk of damage or injury
  • If the tree suits the growing space and conditions
  • Its aesthetic value and impact on the local landscape
  • The likelihood of any damage to utilities and Council and/or other assets
  • If the tree is native and part of a local Endangered Ecological Community
  • The habitat value of the tree for animals and local wildlife
  • Its historical and cultural significance
  • The options available to manage the tree

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Request an inspection

If you are concerned about trees on public land you can ‘Request an inspection’ and we’ll assess what we can do.

Once we’ve made a full assessment, we may be able to prune or remove the offending trees.

We don’t inspect trees on private property.

To request an inspection by our Tree Management Team contact us on:

How the 45-degree rule works

You may have heard of the 45-degree rule.

Shoalhaven City Council’s Tree Management Policy - Public Land, section 4.7 45-Degree Rule states:

‘In situations where the applicant does not agree with the conclusions of Council’s assessment (i.e. for retention) and the tree is located on a Council road reserve within 45 degrees of a habitable dwelling owned by the applicant, the applicant will be given the option of preparing an environmental assessment (refer to Section 4.8) and accompanying supporting documentation (e.g. arborist report, applicant’s medical certificate) at their own expense. If the environmental assessment allows for the tree works, the applicant can apply to SCC to have the tree works undertaken at the applicant’s expense...’

Diagram showing a profile of a house and an angle of 45 degress between the end of the house and a tree   

The 45-degree rule does not mean that in every instance where a tree meets these criteria that it will be removed.

A full assessment of the tree and its health, location and environmental value will be done before a decision is made to either preserve, prune or remove it.

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Who is responsible for trees on private property?

Trees on private property

As a homeowner you are responsible for looking after the trees on your property.

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Concerns about a neighbours tree

Council has no authority to act and is not able to mediate in disputes between neighbours as it is a civil matter that should be resolved between neighbours, or through the Land and Environment Court.

Even if you are only pruning less than 10% of overhanging branches it is best to talk to your neighbours first and avoid a potential dispute.

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Vegetation vandalism

Vegetation within coastal reserves plays an important role in reinforcing dune systems and protecting adjoining land and assets against severe weather events.

Trees and shrubs on waterways are the home and breeding ground for many of our protected bird species. Local volunteers work tirelessly to assist Council and residents in an effort to maintain natural habitat.

How you can help

If you see someone damaging or removing flora or fauna on public land please contact Ranger Services as soon as possible or our After Hours Emergencies

If possible and safe to do so, take a photograph or video of the incident and note the car registration number. This will assist Rangers with their investigation. 

Council provides a reward of $5000 for any information provided that leads to a successful prosecution.

To learn more about vegetation vandalism view:

Annual tree planting

Shoalhaven City Council has an annual tree planting event, usually at the end of July, to coincide with National Tree Day.

To volunteer to help with our annual tree planting event you can:

Council also carries out a seasonal planting program with trees being planted in public places and on Council-managed land.