To: Brad Hazzard, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure – email@example.com
CC: Don Page MP Minister Local Government & Minister for North Coast – firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Thomas George MP Deputy Speaker – email@example.com
Dear MP Hazzard,
Environmental zones and overlays in Far North Coast Local Environmental Plans – E Zone Review Project
I strongly support the use of local environmental protection zones (E2, E3 & E4) and overlays (riparian buffers and corridors) to provide protection for all native vegetation, riparian areas and wildlife corridors in both rural and urban areas throughout NSW.
Our community demands strong protection for our region’s unique environmental values and I therefore request you to provide assurances that the Review will be balanced and comprehensive by adhering to the following basic standards.
Specifically, I request you confirm that the Review will:
1. give full consideration to the extensive scientific assessment, policy framework, and stakeholder consultation which underpin the application of environmental zones and overlays across the region;
2. identify all environmentally significant areas NOT protected by environmental zones or overlays in the draft LEPs and justify their exclusion in detail, including a) all omitted areas of high conservation value native vegetation, and b) all omitted areas currently protected by environmental zonings under existing LEPs;
3. include a comprehensive assessment of the validity of all arguments opposing E-zones and overlays;
4. justify any wind-back of environmental protections against the government’s own conservation policies and strategies such as the Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan, Far North Coast Regional Strategy and State Environmental Planning Policies (e.g. Coastal Wetlands, Littoral Rainforest, Koala Habitat Protection, and Coastal Protection.)
5. ensure that our most sensitive environmental values remain protected from surface mining and petroleum production (e.g. Coal Seam Gas and other unconventional gas extraction) under clause 7, SEPP (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007, by maintaining the current prohibition of agriculture and industry from E2 zones.
6. include a comprehensive assessment of the critical role LEP environmental zones and overlays play in the broader environmental legislation framework;
7. include a comprehensive assessment of the relative environmental significance of the region; and
8. identify any mapping inaccuracies and outline appropriate means of rectifying them.
Further to point 3 above, I strongly believe that most of the arguments opposing E-zones and overlays have no evidence base and are largely the product of vexatious and misinformed scaremongering.
In particular, I reject claims that E-zones and overlays:
• unfairly limit existing use rights (given existing use rights are maintained by law);
• significantly reduce land values (given these claims are speculative only and should therefore not be used to guide planning decisions); and
• unnecessarily duplicate existing laws (given that existing laws offer no protection to many locally significant environmental values and they are almost never adequately triggered, applied or enforced in day to day practice).
I call on you to ensure the Review findings approve adequate protection of our region’s unique environmental values by environmental protection zones and overlays in our Local Environmental Plans.
Name: [YOUR NAME]
Right now, the Department of Planning & Infrastructure is reviewing the future of our natural areas – protect for the future or erase for development?
Our local Councils are trying to protect these last remaining areas in environmental protection zones, but they are facing huge pressure from developers and the NSW Government to abandon protection for short-sighted economic growth. But our wider community treasures its natural environment, and together we need to let them know that we want our natural areas protected from inappropriate development.
We believe this is the testing ground to wind-back environmental protections across NSW.
We need to let the Government know that we demand a balanced and unbiased review of our key environmental protections, and that we won’t let them trash our precious environment for short-sighted economic growth.
Please send a quick submission (at right) to demand strong protection for our unique natural areas.
Additional Comment Ideas:
Environmental protection zones have provided fundamental protection for our natural areas in NSW for nearly 30 years and their removal must to be justified on social, environmental and economic grounds.
It is essential to exclude inappropriate development from high conservation value native vegetation on both private and Crown lands.
It is important to protect rare, endangered and vulnerable ecosystems, rainforest, oldgrowth forest, wetlands, koala habitat, key fauna habitat, shorebird roost and nest sites, and flying fox camps.
Clearing, coal-seam gas mining, logging and intensive developments are inappropriate in high conservation value native vegetation.
The requirement for development applications triggers independent assessment, community consultation and any other environmental regulations that may apply to the area concerned.
Remnant vegetation is highly fragmented and it is important to restore links between fauna populations.
This regions streams are heavily degraded and it is important that new developments minimise any additional impacts.