PLANNING rules that manage the environment will be consolidated and simplified to continue to protect the state's water catchments, urban bushland, world heritage areas and waterways, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment announced last week.
The Department's Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said seven individual policies, or SEPPs, will be incorporated into the proposed Environment SEPP to ensure the application of environmental controls becomes an easier process.
"These reforms recognise that NSW's environment is an important asset that needs to be maintained for the benefit of current and future generations," Ms Frame said.
"Importantly, the reforms address planning complexities by consolidating a series of planning instruments. This provides the clarity to achieve good outcomes for some of the state's most important water catchments and waterways such as Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.
"Developments in these areas need to address impacts on the environment's ecosystems as they provide aesthetic, cultural, social and economic benefits to the community.
According to the Department, the new Environment SEPP will:
- Deliver on the Government's commitment to simplify the NSW planning system and reduce complexity without reducing the rigour necessary when considering environmental matters;
- Provide a consistent level of environmental protection to that which is currently delivered under the existing SEPPs;
- Help to reduce complexity and streamline the planning system; and
- Establish a modern and consolidated policy framework for key environmental and heritage assets which can be applied to additional areas as future needs dictate.
The proposal to consolidate these planning rules is now on exhibition for community feedback for an extended period until 15 January 2018. More information is available from the Department of Planning and Environment website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/environmentSEPP>.