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Environmental Zones (E Zones)

E Zones Implementation

Environmental Zones or 'E Zones' are designed to protect or manage land that is of important environmental value.

Council is implementing Environmental Zones (E Zones) in two stages:

Stage 1: confirm vegetation and primary land use   

Council is seeking feedback from the wider community and specifically from affected landowners, who have land currently identified as a Deferred Matter (DM) under Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 to verify existing vegetation and primary use of the land. 

This will ensure the most up to date information is used to inform the rezoning of DM land to either an environmental zone or rural zone. 

Council has undertaken a preliminary assessment of affected properties to determine a possible zone for the DM area and has sent letters to all affected land owners.  The assessment is based on information collected during the recent Shire wide Vegetation Mapping Review and primary land use (ie. the predominant use of the land over the last two years). 

To view mapping for your property click here.

Stage 2: apply E Zones

The outcomes of Stage 1 will be reported to Council and will result in some areas of the Shire being rezoned to E2 Environmental Conservation and/or E3 Environmental Management. Areas that do not meet the E Zone criteria will most likely have an alternate zone applied (most likely a rural zone) with any applicable mapped planning controls in an overlay.

To include environmental zones in Byron LEP 2014, Council will prepare and exhibit a draft planning proposal that shows the proposed zonings, for a minimum period of 6 weeks.

Have your say?

Council strongly encourages affected landowners and the wider community to review the mapping information (for Stage 1 above) and notify Council of any changes by 10 November 2017.  This can be done by:

    • requesting a site inspection or making an appointment to speak with staff at Council’s Mullumbimby offices by emailing  Appointment times during the review period are between 9.00 and 12.00, Monday to Wednesday;
    • providing written feedback, which can be emailed to or posted to Byron Shire Council, PO Box 219 Mullumbimby 2482 no later than 10 November 2017.  

Please include reference to the E Zone Review process, along with your property address and parcel number, contact details and a description of the changes you consider are required.  You may also choose to include supporting information relating to primary land use and/or vegetation on your land.  Council will review your feedback and may request your permission to carry out a site inspection of the vegetation on your property to inform amendments to the mapping.

If you require further assistance or advice regarding the above information, please contact Council’s Environmental and Economic Planning division - ph (02) 6626 7126.  

Need more information?

Why is Council now applying EZones?

E Zones were removed from all Northern Rivers Councils’ LEPs in 2012 pending the outcome of the Department of Planning & Environment’s (DPE) Northern Councils E Zone Review process.  

This resulted in broad areas across Byron Shire being mapped as a DM in Byron LEP 2014.  This means that a land use zoning under Byron LEP 2014 has not been applied to all or part of affected land, and consequently Byron LEP 1988 continues to apply to these areas.

The DPE review is now complete and Council has received a Ministerial Section 117 direction that clarifies how the E Zones are to be applied.  The Final Recommendations Report requires that environmental zones are applied generally where the 'primary use' of the land justifies either environmental conservation ('E2') or environmental management ('E3') zoning, based on validated ecological evidence. 

You can view the Northern Councils E Zone Review Final Recommendations Report and the Ministerial section 117 Direction on the Department Planning & Environment website.   

In November 2016, Council endorsed amending LEP 2014 in order to implement the ‘Northern Councils E Zone Review Final Recommendations’. The report and supporting information to 17 November Council meeting can be viewed here (Report 13.9).

What is an ‘overlay’?

Where land is not zoned environmental but has environmental zone criteria present, these values may be acknowledged on an overlay map. 

Overlay maps are taken into consideration when assessing development applications for the land. 

Deferred Matters in coastal areas

Coastal 7(f1) and 7(f2) zones will be considered under a separate process and remain as a Deferred Matter (DM) until appropriate planning controls are developed in consultation with the State Government. 

Council has also written to DPE reaffirming Council’s long standing position that a separate coastal hazard zone is required for Byron LEP 2014.