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Draft Development Control Plan Chapter "XX" in respect of Tree & Vegetation Management

Draft Development Control Plan Chapter XX in respect of Tree and Vegetation Management

Draft Development Control Plan Chapter XX in respect of Tree and Vegetation Management
This public exhibition has now concluded.

Draft Development Control Plan Chapter “XX”, in respect of Tree and Vegetation Management has been prepared for land within the Central Coast Local Government Area

In accordance with the Resolution of Council on 8 October, 2018, Council has prepared a Draft Tree and Vegetation Management Chapter for public exhibition which is designed to be inserted into and replace the relevant Chapters within both the Wyong Development Control Plan 2013 (Chapter 3.6) and the Gosford Development Control Plan 2013 (Chapter 6.6). Draft Chapter “XX” details when tree and vegetation management works require a Permit from Council, and where Exemptions from Permits are available.

Council is interested sought the communities feedback as to whether these proposed exemptions would adequately cater for normal gardening practices, whilst maintaining "reasonable requirements" for tree preservation and maintaining the amenity of our suburbs.

The Chapter will apply generally to Central Coast urban areas and environmentally zoned lands, or “Non-Rural zones”, as identified within the Chapter.

This Draft Development Control Plan was exhibited between 8 November 2018 and 28 January 2019. 

Your attention is drawn to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 which allows for possible access to certain public and personal documentation.

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Peter Kavanagh - Senior Strategic Planner

What is Draft Chapter “XX”?

Draft Chapter “XX” is a document which outlines the draft policy position of the Central Coast Council on Tree and Vegetation Management Permit requirements.  It has been prepared for Public Exhibition, inviting public comments.

What matters does it deal with?

Draft Chapter “XX” details when tree and vegetation management works require a Permit from Council, and where Exemptions from Permits are available.  A general outline of the system proposed is provided within Figure 1 below.

What is the purpose of Draft Chapter “XX”?

Draft Chapter “XX” has been prepared to replace the tree management policies previously applying within the former Gosford and Wyong Council areas with an updated and coordinated policy position across the Central Coast Council area.

Where will Chapter “XX” apply?

The Chapter will apply generally to Central Coast urban areas and environmentally zoned lands, or “Non-Rural zones”, as identified within the Chapter.

Why is a changed policy necessary?

On 25 August 2017, the NSW Government introduced a suite of legislation reforming Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation in NSW.  These reforms changed the way in which tree and vegetation management (tree pruning, tree removal and vegetation clearing) are regulated.

Particularly relevant to Council’s operations are the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017, or “the Vegetation SEPP”.

The Vegetation SEPP identifies that Council is required to declare in a DCP what trees and vegetation it seeks to protect and when it will require a Permit for individual tree or vegetation clearing in non-rural areas, not exceeding the relevant Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) Clearing Threshold established under the BC Act. 

Council therefore needs to revise its policy to clearly align with the reforms and to provide clear advice to landowners as to when Permits are required to undertake tree and vegetation management actions.

When will Chapter “XX” not apply?

As the Draft Chapter deals with the need for Permits, it will not apply to:

a) Removal of vegetation on any land which is identified on the Biodiversity Values Map, or which otherwise exceeds the relevant BOS threshold. Approval to remove vegetation above the BOS threshold must be obtained from the Native Vegetation Panel under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

b) Removal of vegetation authorised under a development consent granted under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (this refers to clearing assessed as part of a development proposal);

c) Removal of vegetation from public land by or on behalf of a public authority (including Council). Note: a Permit will be required for the removal of vegetation from public land by any other person.

What actions require a Licence from OEH?

Draft Chapter “XX” identifies that when the tree or vegetation species is:

  1. a threatened species; or

  2. a habitat tree for threatened fauna species; or

  3. part of an endangered ecological community; 

A Biodiversity Conservation Licence (BCL) is required from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), prior to pruning or removal.

What actions are Exempt from a Permit?

There are currently a broad range of exemptions available under other legislation from any Permit system Council adopts, including where a Licence or Consent has previously been issued for the action proposed.  Section 3.1 of the draft Chapter identifies that the Vegetation SEPP provides an overriding set of three exemptions:

a) Vegetation removal which is:

        i. authorised under s.60O of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (clearing authorised under other legislation);

 

        ii. the removal of vegetation that Council is satisfied is dying or dead and is not required as the habitat of native animals;

       iii. the removal of vegetation that Council is satisfied is a risk to human life or property, does not require a permit from Council and may be removed without a Permit.

 

Section 60O of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act 2013), referred to in Section 3.1(a)(i) of draft Chapter “XX”, identifies an exemption where a consent or approval has been issued under Parts 3A, 4 and 5 of the EP&A Act, and where the tree work relates to work carried out by or on behalf of a Public Authority (including Council). 

The listed exemptions include work relating to the operations of the State Emergency Services, the Electricity Network, Bushfire Hazard Reduction, 10/50 Entitlement Area clearing, clearing for minor Survey work, Water Management Works, Forestry Operations, etc. 

Can I remove a tree to carry out Exempt or Complying Development?

SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 provides that:

a) Exempt Development:  a Permit is required prior to the removal of any tree to carry out Exempt Development (as defined under that Policy); aand

b) Complying Development:  if a tree is:

      i. listed on Council’s Significant Tree Register; or

      ii. is over 6m in height (or 8m where the proposal is a dwelling house and the tree is not required to be retained as a condition of development consent);

A permit or other consent is required prior to the removal of any tree within 3m of the proposed building footprint.

In other cases, excepting where a Licence is required from NSW OEH, the tree(s) may be pruned or removed with no Permit required.

When will a Permit be required?

The following Flow Chart addresses the legislative reforms and provides a summary of the system now proposed by Council:

Figure 1: When is a permit required from Council to remove vegetation?

 

What actions are proposed to be Exempt from a Council requirement for a Permit?

Council proposes to provide additional exemptions from Permit requirements, including:

  • The removal or pruning of trees or vegetation located within 3 metres of an existing approved structure (see definition), located on the subject or adjoining private land. This distance is measured 1.4 metres above ground level between the face of the wall and the part of the trunk nearest the building. Appropriate care is to be taken to avoid harm to any fauna observed to be inhabiting the tree or vegetation.
  • The pruning or removal of non-native shrubs, understorey and groundcover vegetation for the maintenance of lawns and non-native gardens.
  • The pruning or removal of individual native shrubs, understorey and groundcover vegetation for the maintenance of native gardens. Removal is limited to a maximum area of 50m², to be immediately replaced with effective groundcover plants or material to prevent soil erosion.
  • The removal of dead trees or pruning of dead branches in accordance with Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373-2007).
  • Pruning of a maximum of 10% of tree foliage area once every growing season and in accordance with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373-2007). Applicable to branches no more than 50mm in diameter.
  • Pruning branches within 3 metres of powerlines by a licensed contractor, or within 1 metre of telecommunication wires, or where directly overhanging the roofline of an approved structure, in accordance with Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373-2007).
  • Removal or pruning of any weed species listed under Schedule 3 of the Biosecurity Act 2015, and/or those weeds listed on the Australian Government Department of Environment & Energy website “Weeds in Australia”. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/index.html
  • Removal of vegetation comprising any of the tree species as detailed within Council’s Undesirable Species List at www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/).
  • Native bushland weeding and regeneration works by manual means.

Notes:

  1. Where any tree is removed under these exempt provisions, recorded evidence from a Trade (AQF3) or Consulting (AQF5) Arborist identifying the tree species and condition must be retained by the landowner for a period of six (6) months after removal, and be made available to Council on request (i.e. photographs and written expert advice).
  2. Evidence requirements do not apply where the works are required to be carried out for emergency purposes, e.g., authorised by the Police, Ambulance, SES, Fire Brigade, RFS, etc.

How would Draft Chapter “XX” come into effect?

Draft Chapter “XX”, once adopted, would replace existing Chapters within the Council’s Development Control Plans (DCPs).

Which Chapters would be replaced?

Draft Chapter “XX” would replace:

  • Chapter 6.6 of the Gosford DCP 2013; and

  • Chapter 3.6 of the Wyong DCP 2013.

Why does Council still have two DCPs?

On 12 May 2016 the former Gosford City Council and Wyong Shire Council were amalgamated by Proclamation of the NSW Governor, forming Central Coast Council.  The Council is working to align and merge the policies of the former Councils.  Until Council is able to create one Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to cover the entire Local Government Area (LGA), the existing LEPs for the former Councils continue to apply.  A DCP can only apply to the relevant LEP, and therefore the existing DCPs need to be maintained until a consolidated LEP is in operation.

 

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