Rural property owners throughout the Central Coast will benefit from the exhibition of a draft Open Pile Burning Policy that was debated at the ordinary meeting of Central Coast Council on October 23.
A report to the meeting from the Environment and Planning section of Council recommended that Council adopt the draft Central Coast Open Pile Burning Policy for public exhibition.
If the draft policy is adopted, Council will need to be listed as an approval authority for the burning of vegetation under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.
According to the report, Council and the NSW Rural Fire Service receive numerous requests from rural landowners to burn dead vegetation to carry out routine maintenance of their land.
The RFS doesn’t have the power to authorise such pile burning.
Under the 2010 regulation, local councils can voluntarily choose the level of control over burning that is best suited to their local government area.
Open pile burning was permitted by the former Wyong Council, and Gosford Council had exhibited a draft policy in September, 2015, but it was not adopted.
The newer draft policy seeks to consolidate the provisions of the former Wyong and Gosford policies.
It provides a self-regulated approval process for pile burning on land that meets certain conditions.
The policy would apply to land that comprises an area greater than 4,000 square metres, is zoned RU1 Primary Production, RU2 Rural Landscape, RU6 Transition, R5 Large Lot Residential, E2 Environmental Conservation, E3 Environmental Management, E4 Environmental Living, RE2 Private Recreation, 7(a) Conservation or 7(c2) under Interim Development Order 122.
The draft policy will enable landowners to burn only one pile of vegetation on the land at any one time.
The pile must be less than two metres in diameter and less than 1.5 metres in height.
A fire permit must be obtained from the RFS for open burning during the Bushfire Danger Period, which is usually October 1 to March 31.
The vegetation must be dry or dead and be generated from the premises on which it grew, with a diameter of 150mm or less.
Adjacent property owners and the RFS must be given 24 hours’ notice of intention to burn, in writing or verbal.
An open fire must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult and burning must comply with all RFS rules, standards and guidelines, and must not cause nuisance to neighbours or a smoke hazard to traffic.
The policy does not provide approval for the destruction and removal of vegetation, land clearing, burning of vegetation resulting from the clearing of land or burning land for bushfire hazard reduction purposes.
All other restrictions on fires would remain in place and strict fire hazard controls would be adhered to.
The policy was expected to be placed on public exhibition for 28 days.
Agenda item 3.3, Oct 23
Central Coast Council ordinary meeting