Monday, 11 December 2006

Planning for bush fires - a nice warm Xmas

However bad Irish planning gets, at least we don't have to plan for a future self-bbq. Given the fires in Victoria, AU this week and last, I thought this might be of interest. It also makes you wonder about all those C02 emissions - for example: The Department of Sustainability (!) and Environment said the blaze had destroyed about 8000 hectares of scrub in one day at the startof the most recent fires ...

Planning for bushfire protection

To protect life and property from the threat of bushfires, the Department, in partnership with the NSW Rural Fire Service has introduced a comprehensive framework for planning and development.

Legislative changes

On 1 August 2002, the Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment Legislation Amendment Act 2002 commences. This Act amends both the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Rural Fires Act 1997 to provide a stronger, more streamlined system for planning for bushfire protection.

The changes affect councils currently required to prepare Bush Fire Risk Management Plans under the Rural Fires Act 1997. The changes cover hazard reduction activities as well as planning and development control matters on land that is identified as being prone to bushfire.

Planning advice

Advisory Note (pdf file) explains the changes to planning and development control provisions

Bushfire Protection Practice Note provides councils, developers and consultants with a practical tool to apply the new bushfire reforms to planning and development assessment and includes hyperlinks to relevant legislation and websites.

Planning for Bushfire Protection 2001 (1.2 MB pdf file) provides councils and developers with detailed information on bushfire protection from plan-making to development design, development control, construction certificates, and property maintenance.

Key features include:

  • identification of bushfire-prone areas
  • planning principles to be considered when councils are rezoning
  • latest hazard assessment method to work out appropriate setbacks
  • location of developments in areas of bushfire hazard based on latest CSIRO research on bushfire behaviour
  • appropriate level of building construction relevant to setback distances
  • special setback distances for special use developments (such as aged care facilities).

Section 117(2) Direction G20 - Planning for Bushfire Protection (pdf file) complements the legislative changes. The Minister for Planning has directed councils to consult NSW Rural Fire Service when preparing draft local environmental plans for land identified as being bushfire prone, and comply with specific provisions in Planning for Bushfire Protection 2001.

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