Tree Felling In Bushfire Prone Areas In NSW
The new 10/50 laws in NSW have given homeowners more freedom to fell trees and clear vegetation around their homes to protect against bushfire encroachment, without needing to seek approval for the tree felling. The 10 metres applies from the edge of external walls to the habitable structures (so does not apply to sheds or storage structures).
Here is a guide on how to use the 10/50 regulations to clear the areas around your home.
Determine if you are in a 10/50 applicable area
The 10/50 laws are applicable in bushfire prone areas. The NSW Rural Fire Service has an online calculator to help you determine if you are in an applicable area. In some cases you may also have restrictions if your property includes areas of Aboriginal significance or prescribed streams (in both cases you must leave trees within 10 metres of the site or stream bank).
Determine the trees you can fell
Homeowners can remove trees from 10 metres around their property, without seeking council approvals for the tree felling. The 10-metre zone is measured from the tree trunk to the external walls of the home. To maximise the bushfire safety of the property following the free felling, ensure that there are no chips or additional wood or bark debris on the ground, as this can become fuel loading for an encroaching fires. You cannot use graders, ploughs or dozers to clear the area around the home as this can disturb the soil profile and lead to erosion,
However, if these trees sit on a neighbour's property, you cannot fell these trees without the neighbour's permission, even if they are within 10 metres of your property. There is no requirement to fell trees in the 10-metre zone. If your neighbour's trees have limbs overhanging your home within the 10 metre zone, you need to determine if the neighbour will also need to prune the tree on their side to meet AS4373-2007. If so, you will need to request permission from the neighbour.
Determine the vegetation you can clear
Homeowners can remove vegetation (including shrubs and plants) from 50 metres around their property, without seeking approvals for the clearing. You must use manual or chemical removal techniques and cannot use this as an opportunity to burn away vegetation.
Again, if the vegetation is on a neighbour's property, you will need the neighbour's permission to remove the vegetation on their properties.
If you are unsure of how to go about clearing trees on your property, contact a local tree felling service, such as All About Tree Services, to help you assess and plan your tree felling.