Preserving our Bushland legacy

With our unique position, situated between two expansive areas of bushland, the connection to the natural environment is strong and pervading in the Hornsby Shire.

Our mark of distinction has long been our characteristic leafy urban and majestic, expansive bushland areas. It should be no surprise, that the first tree preservation order was brought to life by the then incumbent mayor, Max Ruddock.

The importance of trees is often taken for granted along with the benefits provided to the community such as:

  • Social wellbeing
  • Maintaining the environmental health of our region by protecting soil and water supplies
  • Providing food, shelter, and protection from predators for birds, animals, and insects
  • Attracting people and visitors to the area
  • Storing carbon
  • Increasing property values.

Strategies to preserve trees in Hornsby Shire

We are committed to preserving the unique beauty, landscape character and natural history of our urban and bushland trees and vegetation. To achieve this Council employs qualified arborists using current industry methodologies and standards to assess trees in the Shire.

All trees in Hornsby Shire are protected unless they are considered an invasive or environmentally detrimental species – see exempt tree species. Trees on this list are “exotic” ie they are not indigenous to Australia.

There are several important pieces of legislation that protect trees in Hornsby Shire. Some are State and some are Federal. They include:

  • Heritage Conservation Act 1997
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1975
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Area’s) 2017
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979
  • NSW Biosecurity Act 2015
  • Australian Standard AS 4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees AS 4373-2007

Council’s data analysts utilise spatial mapping tools to monitor and identify significant changes in the urban and bushland canopies of the Shire.

The data collected is also useful for demonstrating the effectiveness of planting initiatives in the Shire over time, as well as enabling comprehensive modelling scenarios for medium and long-term bush care planning.

To ensure the best outcome when managing public and private trees, assessments are conducted by Council arborists who are diploma qualified in Arboriculture (AQF5). This means current industry methodologies are used and internationally recognised risk assessment tools are applied.

Council arborists ensure decisions are consistent and that they reflect the provisions of the State Environment Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Area’s) 2017, Hornsby Shire Council’s Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan.

Residents of Hornsby Shire are required to use Council’s permit-based application system, when undertaking anything to do with trees or vegetation on their property.

This system is required by the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Area’s) 2017 under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979.

Specific protection measures are in place for trees that are in areas of Hornsby that are:

  • Within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
  • Within a Locally Significant Ecological Community (SEC)
  • Within an Endangered or Critically Endangered Ecological Community (EEC)
  • Identified to be retained as a condition of a development consent.

Find out if your property is in an HCA, SEC or EEC