Coastal planning

Planning for our coastline has started under the NSW Government's coastal management framework. This involves preparing Coastal Management Programs (CMP). 

A Coastal Management Program (CMP) is an action plan for Council and other authorities responsible for managing coastal zones to:

  • address coastal hazard risks
  • preserve habitats and cultural uses
  • encourage sustainable agricultural, economic and built development in the coastal zone
  • maintain or improve recreational amenity and resilience
  • adapt to emerging issues such as population growth and climate change

There are several stages involved in preparing a CMP:

Stage 1 - Identify the scope of the CMP

Council adopted a scoping study for Cape Byron to South Golden Beach CMP (June 2020)(PDF, 13MB).

Council has also adopted a scoping study for the Southern Byron Shire Coastline (August 2021) from Cape Byron to the southern boundary of the Shire at Seven Mile Beach, including the Belongil Creek estuary.

A scoping study is proposed for the Brunswick River estuary as a future priority.

Stage 2 - Determine risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities

A Coastal Hazard Study is proposed to start in late 2020 for the entire coastline of the Byron Shire. It will look at a variety of hazards including:

  • beach erosion and recession
  • coastal and tidal inundation.

Additional stage 2 studies may be identified through completion of the scoping study for the southern Shire coastline and for the Belongil Creek estuary.

Stages 3, 4 and 5

These stages include:

  • Identifying and evaluating options
  • Preparing, exhibiting and adopting a CMP
  • Implementing, monitoring and reporting .

How you can be involved

Community and stakeholder engagement for this Southern Byron Shire Scoping Study will take place soon.

Further engagement activities are expected to occur throughout the development of each Coastal Management Program.

More Information


What is the coastal zone?

The NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 defines the coastal zone as the:

  • coastal wetlands and littoral rainforest area,
  • coastal vulnerability area (unmapped),
  • coastal environment area,
  • coastal use area.

Mapping of the coastal management areas is available on NSW Department of Planning and Environment's website.

Why is Council preparing another plan for the coastal zone?

There has been a long history of plan making for some areas of the Shire’s coastal zone. Council has prepared coastal (zone) management plans, however they have never been approved or certified by the Minister.

In 2018 the NSW Government reformed the coastal planning process and legislative framework.  Councils need to use the framework to prepare CMPs and to obtain funding for management actions through the NSW Coastal and Estuary Grants Program. 


Why are there different areas for the scoping studies?

Byron Shire has 35km of open coast and three estuaries bounded by some 262 km2 of coastal catchments.
The beaches, headlands, estuaries and catchments have significantly varying environmental, geomorphic and hydrological processes and a complex array of management issues making it too difficult to consider one scoping study.
Pending the outcome of current studies, Council will consider whether to prepare a CMP for the entire coastal zone, or whether to prepare two or more CMPs.


Why are we doing the Main Beach Shoreline project outside a CMP?

The design investigation for the Main Beach Shoreline Project is currently underway. 

The retention of the coastal protection works at Main Beach is a priority management strategy for Council to protect the Byron Bay town centre.

The delivery of this design investigation project and development of the CMP can occur separately. The CMP provides the overarching long-term planning for the coast but does not preclude other investigations such as this project. 

The outcomes of this project are being incorporated into the CMP development process.

However progression of the design investigation for modification of the coastal protection works into the construction stage of the project is dependent on Ministerial certification of the CMP. The NSW Government's Coastal and Estuary Grants Program requires a certified CMP in order to fund implementation projects (i.e. construction works).