The short answer is, yes. Assuming you have all the necessary permissions in place from the council, then, in theory, you’re good to go. However, cutting down a tree is rarely as simple as throwing on a checked shirt, cutting a wedge and yelling, “Timber!” No, in reality, a tree trunk is one big hunk of liability. The danger posed to you, your property, and your neighbour is high. And, if the worst does happen, and someone or something is damaged, you probably won’t have any insurance to cover it. In fact, the liability will be all yours. So, before you take on the risk of removing a tree, or even pruning a tree, yourself, consider the following.
You’re going to need more than a chainsaw to remove a tree. The fact is, trees that need removing are rarely positioned conveniently in the middle of a paddock. They will probably be near property, a fence line or a street. So, this means they should be properly roped to avoid them falling the wrong way. Also, safety barriers and warnings must be deployed to keep the public away from the danger zone. The thing is, a qualified tree removalist can usually drop a tree in exactly the best place, but even they won’t take chances. As for technique, this takes skill and experience to master. A badly placed cut could spell disaster.
So, what about liability? A professional tree removalist firm will have ample insurance cover and certifications to tackle the trickiest of trees. On the other hand, what cover will you have if things go wrong? Finally, always check that the bargain landscaper offering cheap tree removal or lopping has sufficient experience and liability cover. Trying to save a few dollars may end up costing you a fortune.
There are very few reasons for not requiring council permission to remove a tree. However, you should always check first. For instance, if you live in a bush-fire zone, you can clear certain trees and scrub within a set distance from your property. This is called the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme. Beyond this, tree removal is governed by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Local Environment Plans (LEPs). Coffs Harbour council have guidelines here. Approval can be obtained via the lodgement of a tree permit application. Remember, cutting a tree down without council approval can mean a heavy fine and even prosecution.