Why change the “status quo”?

Council provides a range of services and facilities for residents to manage excess vegetation, such as a fortnightly green waste kerbside pickup, a twice-yearly bulky green waste kerbside pickup and green waste drop off points at Teralba Worm Farm and the Awaba Waste Management Facility.

However, residents on large parcels of rural land may be unable to manage high volumes of vegetative waste through existing Council services, alone.

If Council does not assume the role of Approval Authority for open burning in the City, such burns will continue to be regulated by the EPA and open burning will generally not be permitted.  Residents of rural land greater than 4000m2 seeking to remove dry, dead vegetation will need to rely on other means of disposal.

If Council’s proposal goes ahead, properties that meet the approval criteria will be permitted to burn excess vegetation, only in accordance with the policy’s prescriptions and in line with the Rural Fire Service’s guidelines for minimising fire risk.

How did Council come up with open burn criteria?

Land zoned RU2 – Rural Landscape in the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan is larger than 4000m2 and usually isolated from other properties and residences. Open burning on these properties will have minimal impact on air quality and public health.

All other types of properties have been excluded from the proposed policy because it is either deemed environmentally sensitive or is in proximity to residential areas. Open burning in these areas would likely impact the surrounding environment and the health of nearby residents.

Why the inclusion of “RU2 – Rural Landscape” Zoned Land?

Residents of RU2 – Rural Landscape zoned land may need alternative options to manage the high volumes of dead and dry vegetation in addition to existing Council services.

The size and position of the land means they are usually isolated from other properties, so open burning on these properties will have minimal impact on air quality and public health.

Why exclude land zoned “E2-E4 Environmental”?

Environmental zoned land (E2-E4) may be located in rural areas, and include large blocks in areas where neighbours are not in close proximity to each other (low-density).

The intention of these zones is to provide for low-impact living in areas with high/ special ecological value to the City, and, to manage the conservation values of these lands.

Dead and dry vegetation provide essential habitat, which specifically addresses the intent of these land zones, and should not be removed if possible.

Why exclude land zoned “RU4 – Primary Production Small Lots”?

RU4 – Primary Production Small Lots are usually situated next to residential areas, where the smoke of open burning may affect public health.

They are also unlikely to have an unmanageable volume of dead and dry vegetation that would be difficult to move to the kerbside for collection.

Any genuine bushfire hazard issues in these areas can be addressed to the Rural Fire Service, or Fire and Rescue (depending on jurisdiction), as a Bushfire Hazard Reduction Burn.

What will change if the proposal goes ahead?

If Council’s proposal goes ahead, properties that meet the approval criteria will be permitted to burn excess vegetation, only in accordance with the policy’s prescriptions and in line with the Rural Fire Service’s guidelines for minimising fire risk.

Whether or not Council becomes the Approval Authority for open burning in the City, the Rural Fire Service will remain responsible for assessing bushfire hazards and reducing the likelihood and consequence of fires occurring. 

What will change if the proposal does not go ahead?

If Council does not assume the role of Approval Authority for open burning in the City, such burns will continue to be regulated by the EPA and open burning will generally not be permitted.

Residents of rural land greater than 4000m2 seeking to remove dry, dead green waste will need to rely on other means of disposal such as existing council services, on-site mulching or transport to a suitable waste disposal facility.