Illegal pruning, removal or damage of trees

Inner West Council actively supports the care and management of trees through initiatives such as the urban forest program. The NSW Government is seeking to increase the tree canopy in Sydney by 40 per cent over the next 10 years, and this will directly impact the way trees are planted and managed in the Inner West local government area.

Trees that are planted on public land are managed by Council and it is illegal to prune a tree owned by Council without first seeking our consent. It may also be illegal to prune a tree planted on private land, even by the owner of that tree or land, if the species of tree is protected by NSW legislation.

Trees that are protected in this way are called "prescribed trees" and these protected species are detailed in the Development Control Plan for the area in which they are planted.

What to do if you believe a tree has been illegally pruned, removed, poisoned or vandalised

If you believe a tree has been illegally pruned, removed, poisoned or vandalised, you can report this to Council's Ranger Services team.

When lodging a report:

  • Provide exact information as to what type of activity is occurring, and at what time
  • Record information – photographs etc. to assist in your complaint

Report illegal removal or pruning of trees

Report vandalism or damage to public trees

Council provide an after-hours, emergencies only on-call service for ranger and companion animal related matters.

This service is provided from 6:30pm to 8:30am Monday to Friday, and from 4:30pm to 8:30am on Saturday and Sunday.

What happens next?

Council will:

  • Conduct an inspection of the tree to identify the species and the pruning undertaken
  • Gather evidence to ensure any pruning outside of consent is regulated
  • Apply penalties and/or warnings for illegal pruning/work
  • May seek additional planting if one or more trees have been removed without consent

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Page last updated: 31 Mar 2023