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Stop before you chop

Stop, and call before you chop - that’s the message from Eurobodalla Shire Council.

A simple phone call to Council could save you thousands of dollars and prevent inadvertent breaches related to illegal clearing.

There has been a threefold increase in tree and vegetation-related complaints this year, particularly as people clean up fire-affected areas or clear for asset protection.

“Some people think there’s a free reign on tree clearing because of the fires,” environmental services manager Deb Lenson said.

“That’s not the case. There are a lot of legitimate reasons to clear, but you need to be sure before you start work or it can get pretty costly.

“A simple phone call is all it takes, and we can provide advice relating to your specific case or let you know if you need to talk to other NSW Government agencies for approval.” 

Council is working through complaints already logged by residents to identify what is a breach, what is not, and how significant those breaches are.

A number of cautions have been issued and some matters have been referred to the environment team to work with the responsible parties to rehabilitate the area at their own cost.

Landowners can also be hit with fines of $3,000 for illegal vegetation removal, and contractors $6,000. If you engage a contractor to do the work they can also be fined. 

“If you are thinking of undertaking tree or vegetation removal works, whether it be for asset protection, removing a dangerous or dead tree, or even just because you would like the tree or vegetation gone, a phone call can make all the difference,” Ms Lenson said.

“Council has staff that can help. They can explain the requirements about vegetation removal, talk you through any issue and answer your questions prior to any removal works.

“It can give you peace of mind and stop Council resources being tied up responding to unnecessary complaints.”

To enquire about tree or vegetation removal, call Council’s development helpdesk on 4474 1231. For rural properties, please contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 for advice.

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