November 30 - December 6, 2014: Issue 191

 Further Changes To Bushfire Vegetation Laws - Code 10/50 Effective Immediately

 Angophora costata - currently flowering.

 Further Changes To Bushfire Vegetation Laws

27 November 2014

Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes today welcomed further changes to the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice. 

In September the Rural Fire Service fast-tracked a formal review of the Code and announced a series of amendments to reduce the Code’s clearing entitlement areas. 

Further amendments have now been made to limit the provisions of the Code to those properties at greatest risk from bushfires. 

The clearing eligibility area has now been reduced from 350 metres to 100 metres for Category 1 Vegetation and from 150 metres to 30 metres for Category 2 Vegetation. 

Local Councils have also been reminded to reclassify any vegetation areas not believed to pose a bushfire risk and submit their revised maps to the NSW Rural Fire Service. 

“This is a sensible decision which aims to strike a much better balance,” Rob Stokes said today. 

The disappointing misuse of the Code and the pointless removal of trees simply couldn’t continue. 

“Properties in our community’s highest risk areas will continue to be afforded greater protections but the criteria has now been significantly refined.  

“It’s really important for residents to revisit the Rural Fire Service website to check the new classification of their properties before undertaking any vegetation clearing. 

“Heavy penalties continue to apply for any residents who remove trees or vegetation without proper authorisation. 

“These changes continue to assist the most vulnerable residents in our community whilst limiting the opportunities for abuse,” Rob Stokes said.

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Minister Ayres’ media statement:

 

REVIEW OF 10/50 VEGETATION CLEARING ENTITLEMENT 

Stuart Ayres MP Minister for Police and Emergency Services Minister for Sport and Recreation Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney 

MEDIA STATEMENT -  Wednesday 26 November 2014 

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), will make interim changes to the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement as it considers submissions received as part of its review of the scheme. 

NSW RFS in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment, has commenced a formal review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement. 

While the review is underway, the entitlement area will be reduced, effective immediately. 

It will be reduced to 100 metres for Category One and 30 metres for Category Two vegetation. The previous area was 350 metres and 150 metres respectively. 

More than 1,800 submissions have been received, detailing a wide range of issues including the 10/50 Code, legislation, planning, mapping and environmental matters. 

The NSW RFS has advised issues raised in the many submissions are complex and deserving of careful consideration before a final position is adopted. 

It is clear from some submissions and feedback that while the scheme is designed to reduce bush fire risk, there has been some abuse of the fuel reduction provisions for other purposes. 

This review is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015. 

The NSW Government takes bush fire preparation very seriously. 

The laws introduced on 1 August this year, allow residents whose homes are located in designated bushfire prone areas to be able to clear trees and vegetation from their property, specifically: 

o Clear trees within 10m from their house 

o Clear shrubs and other vegetation, except for trees within 50m from their house 

This change will help ensure that those who are most at risk from bush fires can still protect their properties, while minimising those who are abusing the scheme for their own purposes. 

The online mapping tool on the NSW RFS website has been updated with this change. 

Heavy penalties apply to people who clear vegetation without authorisation. 

Anyone wishing to utilise the 10/50 Scheme must check their eligibility at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au 

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From Pittwater Council:

New rules under 10/50 vegetation code welcomed by Council

28 Nov 2014

This week the NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) announced, with immediate effect, a reduction in the entitlement area under the10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code: Category one vegetation is reduced to 100 metres and category two vegetation to 30 metres, down from 350 metres and 150 metres, respectively.

Previously, there were 12,960 Pittwater properties included in the entitlement area but with this week’s changes to the code—which reflect the bushfire prone land mapping—there’s now 6,760 homes affected.

Heavy penalties apply to residents who clear vegetation without authorisation. The easiest way to work out if you're covered by the entitlement area is checking the RFS website, which carries the latest information on areas covered by the code.

“We welcome the formal review of the 10/50 Code, and interim changes to the entitlement area, announced by the RSF this week. The change offers greater protection of our vegetation, especially threatened species, whilst the code is being further refined,” said Mayor Jacqueline Townsend.

“However, we would still prefer the previous system, where a holistic approach was taken; involving the RFS assessing individual properties and actual benefits of vegetation removal, and other issues such as building and garden maintenance,” she added.

Pittwater would like to see a return to the RFS assessing each property on an individual basis and then issuing of a hazard reduction certificate that would override the council’s tree and bushland preservation requirements and other provisions.

“The change is a positive sign, and one that has come about as the result of a sincere commitment to preserving our natural environment from deep within the community, across Pittwater and further,” said Mayor Jacqueline Townsend.

“We will continue to lobby the Baird Government for permanent changes to the code to remove the risk of indirect tree loss”.

The RFS, in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment, is reviewing the scheme due to abuse of the fuel reduction provisions for other purposes.

The RFS received more than 1800 submission. Pittwater’s submission can be viewed at our website, by visiting the agenda for the Council meeting scheduled for 3 December. 

http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/1050-vegetation-clearing/tool

 Angophora costata - currently flowering.