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Review of the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code


Have your say on the Draft Revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code

Public consultation has now closed on the Draft Revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code. 

The Draft Revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code can be viewed at:

Attachments

A public consultation package has been developed and it includes:

NB: The current Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code can be accessed here.

If you have any questions, contact NSW RFS:

By email: bushfirecode@rfs.nsw.gov.au
By phone: 02 8741 5555

Frequently Asked Questions

A series of frequently asked questions has been published to provide additional information and can be accessed below. Simply click on a question to expand the answer.

What is the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code and what does it do?

The Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code (the Code) is a ‘one-stop shop’ environmental assessment and approval process for bush fire hazard reduction works. The Code has been in operation since 2003 with an initial revision in 2006 which is currently in-force Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code. A bush fire hazard reduction certificate (Certificate) may be issued for works that are in accordance with the Code.

Bush fire hazard reduction work to protect life and property involves the clearing and/or burning of vegetation. NSW has a range of environmental legislation regulating these types of activities, as they can potentially have an environmental impact on matters such as native vegetation, threatened species, soil erosion, and air and water pollution.

The Code provides an alternative ‘single’ environmental approval for landholders who would otherwise need to consider the range of environmental approvals that might be required under the regular environmental legislative framework.

Private landholders at risk from bush fire may simply apply for a free Certificate by contacting your local NSW RFS Fire Control Centre and completing an application form. An officer of the NSW RFS will visit your property to determine your risk and appropriate measures to manage your risk. Your application may be processed within as little as seven days unless further information or negotiation is required. If your HRC application is approved you will be provided with a Certificate containing specific conditions that must be followed. If you need assistance in completing your application form our Application Instructions may be of assistance to you in the first instance.

Major public land managers, such as National Parks and Wildlife, councils, and the Forestry Corporation of NSW, can also use the Code to assess and approve their own hazard reduction activities.

How does the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code address environmental concerns?

The Code is an environmental assessment mechanism that takes into account the potential impacts of bush fire hazard reduction works on the environment. The Code addresses matters such as: soil erosion, water bodies, native vegetation, threatened species, heritage items, weeds, and air pollution. These considerations and associated mitigative conditions have been developed in consultation with the environmental regulatory authorities.

A Certificate issued under the Code includes a requirement that the conditions must be adhered to when carrying out the work.

Why is the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code proposed to be amended?

The Code is the principal mechanism for environmental assessment and approval of bush fire hazard reduction in NSW. It is therefore important that the Code is updated to provide for the main types of works utilised to achieve hazard reduction. It is equally important that the Code is updated to reflect relevant changes to environmental assessment processes. This review will assist public authorities and private landholders to better undertake hazard reduction works for the benefit of our communities and the environment.

Who has been consulted in the drafting of the draft revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code?

The NSW RFS has undertaken an extensive consultation process during the review of the Code. Submissions were received and incorporated from: NSW RFS staff, other agencies involved in land management, fire management and environmental regulation, and key interest groups including the NSW Farmers and Nature Conservation Council of NSW. A working group of these stakeholders (including those parties identified in section 100K of the Rural Fires Act 1997) was involved in drafting the revised draft Code.

How long will the draft revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code be available for public comment?

The draft revised Code and supporting documents will be placed on public exhibition for 42 days in accordance with section 100L of the Rural Fires Act 1997.

Can I make comment on the Code supporting documents?

Any person or organisation may make comment on the Code supporting documents. Comment may be made using the same processes for making a submission on the Draft Revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code.

What are the main changes proposed in the draft revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code?

The major changes to the existing Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code are:

  • inclusion of an approval process for fire trails,
  • inclusion of an approval process for neighbourhood safer places,
  • an increase of the duration of bush fire hazard reduction certificates for up to five years,
  • incorporation of an improved process for determining Asset Protection Zone distances applying best practice science,
  • improved capacity to apply Strategic Fire Advantage Zone burns,
  • improved provision for strategic fire breaks along public roads and rail corridors,
  • extending the Code to provide an approval process for control lines that will be used by vehicles,
  • provision for managing weeds using burning, and
  • incorporation of fisheries management issues.

What will happen after the public exhibition phase?

Following public exhibition, the NSW RFS (in consultation with the key stakeholders) will consider all the submissions, and amend the Draft Revised Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code as appropriate.

The NSW RFS will also progress modification to systems to support the implementation of the revised Code, such as training material, training delivery, Standard Operating Procedures, and Guidelines and information management systems.

Once the Draft Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code is finalised and the support framework completed, the NSW RFS Commissioner will submit it to the Minister for Emergency Services for approval. The Minister for Emergency Services will consult with the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Planning and such other Ministers as the Minister considers appropriate (in accordance with section 100M of the Rural Fires Act 1997), prior to approval of the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code.

Which web browsers support the online submission form?

The online submission form is supported by the following web browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer 11+, and Safari (on Mac).

If you do not currently use compatible versions of these web browsers, you can download them from the internet. Alternatively you may print the submission form and mail it.

Can I save my submission form and return to it later?

There is no provision to save a partially completed submission form. However, you may submit a partially completed submission form by clicking ‘submit’ and at a later date submit a new submission form with the remainder of your comments.

How will I know my online submission form has been received successfully?

You will see a pop up on your computer screen advising of successful submission.

Will my personal details be made public on the NSW RFS website?

The NSW RFS will publish a summary of the submissions received. No personal details will be included in this summary. Please note that geographic or administrative areas may be referred to in the submission summary.

Who can I contact if I have any issues?

You can contact the NSW RFS

By email: bushfirecode@rfs.nsw.gov.au
By phone: 02 8741 5555