Rural Fire Service 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice

New State government fire safety rules now allow people in designated areas to remove any tree that is within 10m of their house and vegetation up to 50m from their house without any approval. This overrides any LEP, tree preservation order or DA condition regarding tree preservation etc and came into effect on August 1 2014.

There is no overall map to show the location of these 10/50 areas, so it is almost impossible to make an overall assessment of the impact of the clearing code.  You have to enter each individual address into the RFS web-tool to check (see  RFS tree and vegetation clearing).

Boronia Park LC riverMany parts of Hunters Hill are affected, including areas covered by SREP (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005, which is specifically designed to protect the natural assets (e.g. bushland) around the harbour.

Property owners can now ask their neighbours to clear trees that are within 10m or vegetation within 50m of their house.  If the neighbour doesn’t remove or prune the vegetation then the property owner can make a hazard complaint to the RFS.

The changes:

  •   Are not supported by the State’s expert Hazard Reduction Audit Panel
  •   Do not address actual bushfire risk and give a false sense of security
  •   Reduce interaction between fire experts (RFS) and landowners and occupiers
  •   Damage environmentally sensitive bushland across the State with no substantial impact on safety or ongoing bushfire risk.

More information:  submission to Rural Fire Service.

Email the Minister for Emergency Services, Stuart Ayres MP, the Member for Penrith: