SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development) 2008

Tree removal can sometimes be a necessary part of construction and development. The State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 2008 for Exempt and Complying Development allows for the removal of specific trees during the development of a site, in accordance with the following requirements. 

What requirements apply to tree removal?

Trees or vegetation may be removed as part of a complying development for residential development if it is: 

  • within 3m of a building or structure bigger than 25 sqm
  • not on Council's register of significant trees
  • not higher than 8m if the development is for a new house - as long as the tree is not required to be retained as a condition of consent for the subdivision, and
  • not higher than 6m for alterations and additions to a house. 

Trees or vegetation may be removed as part of a complying development for new or additions to existing commercial and industrial buildings if it is:

  • within 3m of the development, and
  • not on Council's register of significant trees,
  • or, not higher than 8m.

Figure showing trees that can be removed and trees that must be retained  

How retained trees are protected

All trees that are required to be retained on a development site must be protected in accordance with the Australian Standard (AS) 4970 - 2009 Protection of trees on development sites. Tree protection measures must be in place before any works commence on the site. These must be in good condition and remain in place for the entire duration of the construction works.

Figure showing protection zones for retained trees during construction

What if my proposal doesn't meet the requirements for complying development?

If your proposal does not meet the required standards for complying development, you may still be able to undertake works but you MUST obtain development approval first. In this case you should contact Council's Customer Service on 9952 8222 to discuss your options.

More information

If you would like to read more about complying developments, go to the NSW Planning and Environment website at or download the Information Sheet