Environmental zones (E Zones)

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

Applying E Zones and other LEP 2014 zones 

Council is implementing a review of E Zones in accordance with the Northern Councils E Zone Review Final Recommendations Report (2015) 

  • Step 1: confirm vegetation and primary land use
  • Step 2: apply E Zones (Planning proposals to amend Byron LEP 2014)

Given the scale of rezonings across the Shire, the process to apply E Zones and other LEP 2014 zones, is being undertaken in multiple Planning Proposal stages.   A Planning Proposal is a legal document that explains the justification for the new zoning to be applied in Byron LEP 2014.

  • The first stage Planning Proposal to apply ‘landowner agreed’ zones to approximately 60 properties was finalised on 28 February 2020 with the amended Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 and amended maps published on the NSW Dept Planning, Industry & Environment's website now applying to those properties. 
  • The second stage Planning Proposal for approximately 600 properties was publicly exhibited until 6 December 2019.

    After considering the submissions report at its 21 May 2020 planning meeting, Council resolved for the planning proposal to be amended, in line with the landowner agreements, and sent for finalisation to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. This finalisation process can take several months before the LEP 2014 zones are applied, expected by early 2021.

  • Landowner consultation and mapping for the Stage 3 Planning Proposal was reported to Council at 19 November planning meeting. Public exhibition / consultation is expected in early 2021.

See 'Applying E Zones' dropdown below for more information.

E Zones explained

Watch our FAQ video with Land Use Planning Coordinator Alex Caras

 

To ensure the most up-to-date information is used to inform the rezoning of land to an environmental, rural or urban zone, Council initially sought feedback from affected land owners to verify existing vegetation and primary use of the land.

What happened with the initial feedback from land owners?

We received feedback from more than 1,000 land owners in the Shire. 

The review of the land owner feedback has taken some time given the high volume of submissions received, the need for site inspections on certain land and any follow-up discussions to support agreed landowner outcomes. We have been in contact with everyone who has provided feedback initially, to progress to one of the Planning Proposal stages, and continue to follow up with those who haven't.

The outcomes of feedback from landowners will inform the process of rezoning land. This 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 have an alternate zone applied and where applicable, mapped planning controls in an overlay. (see question in below 'dropdown' for more information about overlays).

As part of this rezoning process staff are continuing to work with affected landowners to get agreed outcomes wherever possible.

Stage 1 Planning Proposal

Stage 1 Planning Proposal was finalised on 28 February 2020 with the amended Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 and amended maps published on the NSW Dept Planning, Industry & Environment's website. 

Stage 2 Planning Proposal

The second stage Planning Proposal  (PP2) for approximately 600 properties was on public exhibition until 6 December 2019.  

After considering the submissions report at its 21 May planning meeting, Council resolved for the planning proposal to be amended, in line with the landowner agreements, and sent for finalisation to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. This finalisation process can take several months before the LEP 2014 zones are applied, expected by the end of 2020. 

Stage 3 Planning Proposal

Staff are continuing to review (and respond to) feedback from affected landowners to be included in the Stage 3 Planning Proposal, which will also include land affected by mapped planning controls in an overlay that will protect environmental values that do not meet the criteria for an E2 or E3 zone. 

Environmental Zones or 'E Zones' include:

  • E2 – Environmental Conservation
  • E3 – Environmental Management.

E2 Zone: Environmental Conservation

The E2 zone primarily applies to areas of high ecological, scientific or cultural value that should be protected for environmental conservation purposes (including zones 7(a), 7(b), 7(j) and 7(k) under the Byron LEP 1988), and where commercial agricultural activities are not carried out. Examples of high ecological or scientific values include: littoral rainforest, coastal wetlands, endangered ecological communities, threatened species habitat and over-cleared vegetation communities.

E3 Zone: Environmental Management

The E3 zone primarily applies to areas containing special ecological or cultural attributes that require careful consideration/management. This may include land containing riparian / estuarine vegetation, or rare, endangered, and vulnerable forest ecosystems, or where established agricultural activities occur within vegetated areas that meet the E2 criteria. This zone allows for a wider range of land use activities that are compatible with these attributes.

View the proposed objectives and permissible uses in these zones(PDF, 35KB)

The formal rezoning process is known as a Planning Proposal - a document that explains the justification, in this case, to apply E Zones and related amendments to Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014.

Given the scale of rezonings across the Shire, Planning Proposals are being undertaken in three stages to deliver more timely and effective outcomes for affected landowners.  

Please note that target dates shown (in the above overview of proposed stages) only relate to the exhibition part of the rezoning process. Once the exhibition is complete for each stage, it may be an additional three-four months for staff to review submissions and report back to Council for final adoption. 

Areas that do not meet the criteria for an E Zone will have an alternative zone applied, most likely an equivalent ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ zone (as applicable) under Byron LEP 2014.

Affected landowners will be notified in writing of the suitable alternative zone/s and have an opportunity to provide feedback on this zoning at a later date.

Council has the option of using mapped planning controls (also known as “overlays”) to protect environmental values that do not meet the criteria for an E2 or E3 zone. This may be applied to sensitive riparian areas (i.e. land within a certain distance of a watercourse) or other native vegetation that needs to be managed through a local provision and associated “overlay” map in the Byron LEP 2014. In the case of a vegetation overlay map, this will not duplicate E2 or E3 zones.  

An overlay map and associated clauses will identify the matters that need to be considered in a development application for proposed land uses that require development consent. Land uses that are permitted without consent, such as some forms of extensive agriculture in rural zones, will not be subject to map overlay provisions in the LEPs. Also, existing agricultural practices that are currently being undertaken on land will not be subject to the provisions of the map. 

The review of landowner feedback has identified potential land where use of an overlay may be an appropriate management mechanism, however this is best considered at the end of the review process when the final extent of E Zones applied within the Shire is known. A further report on this option will be considered by Council on finalisation of the application of E Zones.

Some coastal areas were also identified as a Deferred Matter under the Byron LEP 2014, pending the outcomes of the State Government’s coastal management review and the possible adoption of a new coastal zone. This applies to the following zones under the Byron LEP 1988:

  • 7(f1) Coastal lands; and
  • 7(f2) Urban Coastal Lands 

Such areas will be considered under a separate review process and remain as a Deferred Matter under the Byron Local LEP 2014 until appropriate planning controls are developed in consultation with the State Government. These areas will therefore remain subject to the zoning and legislative requirements of the Byron LEP 1988 and the relevant controls in the Byron Development Control Plan (DCP) 2010.