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Have your say on draft Burning off in Open Areas policy

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Have your say on draft Burning off in Open Areas policy

A pile of vegetation being burnt.

Thursday 30 April 2020

The draft Burning off in Open Areas policy goes on public exhibition today until 31 May 2020 at www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/HaveYourSay.

Council is calling for comments and suggestions on the draft policy. The policy sets out to streamline the approval process for burning of dry vegetation (pile burning).

Council’s Director, Community, Environment and Planning, Alice Howe, said Council regulates pile burning of vegetation and is seeking to simplify the approval process for landowners wishing to undertake this activity within appropriate hazard reduction periods.

“We’re keen to support landowners who want to proactively manage bushfire risk by making it more straightforward for them to pile burn vegetation.”

The draft policy provides a deemed approval process, which means that where the policy is followed, landowners do not need to apply to Council for approval to undertake pile burning for properties in excess of 3000m2 in certain zones.

Dr Howe said landowners would continue to be required to notify the relevant fire authority, usually the Rural Fire Service, and neighbours, but an approval from Council would not be required.

However, she said approval from the Rural Fire Service is required for hazard reduction burning activities; which includes burning off of vegetation across an area of land rather than in a pile. 

Dr Howe said the draft policy aims to:

  • protect the environment, the health and the amenity of people in the Bega Valley Shire
  • ensure consistency and fairness in the way Council deals with burning off
  • ensure compliance with the Clean Air Regulation
  • increase public awareness of individuals’ obligations under the Regulation
  • make Council's requirements for burning off readily accessible and understandable to the public.

Residents are encouraged to share their ideas at council@begavalley.nsw.gov.au or the Have your Say page on Council’s website at www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/HaveYourSay.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the draft policy will not be on display in public libraries or at Council offices during the exhibition period.

Photograph: The draft policy aims to support landowners who want to proactively manage bushfire risk by making it more straightforward for them to pile burn vegetation

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