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Important bushfire planning changes

2 Mar 2017

The Department of Planning has recently released the updated Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas version 1.1.

Periodically reviewed, the Guidelines are an accompaniment to the State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (SPP 3.7), providing advice, information and assistance in the interpretation of how bushfire risk is to be addressed when planning, designing or assessing a planning proposal within a designated bushfire prone area.

The key changes in the Guidelines version 1.1 include: 

  • ‘Minor development’ (as defined in SPP 3.7) in an area of BAL-40 or BAL-FZ is no longer a performance principle solution and does not require referral to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
  • The minimum 20 metre requirement for an asset protection zone (APZ) has been removed with an APZ now needing to achieve BAL-29 or less
  • The prescribed standards for vegetation within the APZ have been altered
  • Acceptable solution A2.2 Hazard Separation Zone (HSZ) has been removed.

Strategen believe the two key points of greatest significance to developers, planners, local governments and landowners are:

  1. The amendment to the APZ. Changing the APZ provides greater flexibility for proponents to manage setback distances adjacent to the bush and provides a greater degree of consistency with AS 3959.
  1. The prescribed standards for vegetation within the APZ have been altered to provide comprehensive guidance for proponents to design APZs appropriately and achieve balanced bushfire, environmental and visual amenity outcomes. 

With these changes effective immediately, they will need to be considered in all future bushfire planning proposals. 

Future items of importance within the Guidelines still awaiting updates include:

  1. Draft revision for land considered vulnerable, unavoidable and/or for tourism use.
  2. A draft bushfire management checklist.

In light of this, Strategen has had recent success in gaining bushfire planning approvals for the following:

  • Aged care facilities
  • Caravan, camping and leisure parks
  • Special rural and residential land in the Perth hills.

These types of developments often require a specific bushfire management approach compared to typical urban type developments situated in bushfire prone areas.  Open and early consultation with local government and Department of Fire and Emergency Services can be crucial in achieving prompt development approvals. 

Strategen also welcomes Linden Wears to our bushfire planning and management team.  With a background in both Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Safety Engineering, Linden has worked on a wide range of projects in the industrial, mining, infrastructure, commercial, retail, residential, education and health sectors. 

Linden's current role is assisting clients with the preparation of Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) reports and Bushfire Management plans that support large-scale structure plans, multi-lot subdivisions and individual lot developments.  Linden’s skill set only strengthens our bushfire planning team.

At Strategen we understand the challenges of bushfire management for developers, planners, local governments and landowners.  Our expert advice and superior service ensures we create tailored, innovative solutions to solve your bushfire challenges.
Don’t hesitate to contact any member of our bushfire planning and management team for guidance and assistance on 9380 3100.