There are many myths floating around about E-zones and a good dose of scaremongering too!
Here are some facts that will help put the debate in perspective:
Existing uses are maintained
- Existing use rights are safeguarded under legislation1.
- All landowners can continue to practice existing lawful uses irrespective of the new zoning.
- Consent can be sought to expand an existing use even though it may be prohibited under a new e-zone.
E-zones can have positive impacts on land value
- Natural areas are universally recognised as a major property asset by real estate agents at sale time.
- Many property buyers value the security of knowing their neighbour’s land has environmental protection too and is therefore unlikely to be cleared.
- The presence of a potential wildlife corridor over land should be viewed as an asset rather than a devaluation, its restoration perhaps assisting in obtaining development approval for other areas of a property.
- Many of the region’s most expensive locations are associated with a high proportion of natural areas (e.g. Anderson’s Hill, Broken Head, Wilson’s Creek, Pottsville & Coolgardie).
- E-zones can attract generous government grants and subsidies for conservation projects (i.e. Carbon Farming Initiative)
Responsible proposals may still get approval in E-zones
- E-zones don’t stop all development, but rather ensure environmental values are considered when planning new developments and impacts upon them minimised.
- In E3 zones for example – single residential dwellings, farm buildings, ecotourist facilities and bed & breakfast accommodation may get approval.
Many farmers are supportive of e-zones
- Many value the significant benefits that natural areas contribute to their farming activities (i.e. erosion control, pollination, shelter for livestock and adjacent crops).
- Many recognise the marketing value of protecting biodiversity whilst also farming their lands.
- And many simply value biodiversity and want it protected long after they’re gone.
Other environmental laws are no substitute for local e-zones
- Local e-zones are designed to protect local environmental values. State or Commonwealth laws only recognise a small subset of these.
- Most landowners assume that if there’s no local e-zone over their land there won’t be any other protections at the state or Commonwealth level either. This is a major cause of illegal clearing.
- Our environment protection system relies on local e-zones to trigger other environmental laws – it’s the way our system works.
- Without e-zones, there is far less chance that inappropriate development will be reviewed by independent assessment or community consultation.
E-zones are based on extensive evidence and consultation
- E-zones have been developed by each Council over a 5-10 year period and are informed by extensive scientific investigations and consultation with the community, industry and relevant government agencies.
- The draft LEPs are intended to reflect the outcomes of past community consultation and allow further public input into the process.
- NSW Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, s 107.
October 24, 2012 Learn More