The draft report considers ways that North Coast councils can use planning controls to protect the environment while still allowing the growth of the important local farming sector. It was produced by independent consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Key interim recommendations from the report include:
- Setting clear criteria for environmental zones known as E2 and E3 to ensure that these zonings are based on strong evidence.
- Allowing grazing and other kinds of extensive farming activity with consent in some environmental zones and without consent in others.
- Removing aesthetic value as an objective of the environmental management zone known as E3.
- Removing the proposed environmental zones from Kyogle Shire Council’s local plan until proper evidence is provided.
- Replacing the proposed environmental living zone in Byron Shire known as E4 with a more appropriate residential zone.
The draft report and interim recommendations were prepared after consultation with councils, landowners and local stakeholders.
Minister for Planning Pru Goward said the recommendations were subject to further consultation. She also described the report as an important step in the journey toward balancing the needs of environmental protection and farming on the North Coast.
“The draft recommendations will now go on exhibition. Feedback from stakeholders will inform the Government’s decision, and a Direction will be issued to guide councils on the specific criteria to use when deciding to apply an environmental zone,” Ms Goward said.
The interim recommendations will be on exhibition until 5 June 2014. To view the report and provide feedback, please visit the Planning website.