Wingecarribee Shire Council is seeking comments from residents on its revised draft Urban Backyard Burning of Vegetation Policy.
Council’s Manager of Environment and Sustainability, Barry Arthur explained the reason for the revision.
“The Southern Highlands is synonymous with clean, fresh air and this policy seeks to ensure that this basic amenity can be enjoyed for generations to come,” he said.
Council’s original Backyard Burning Policy was formulated in 2002 and since then the Shire has seen numerous changes.
“Over the past 15 years our Shire has experienced major changes that have had a big influence on the policy,” Mr Arthur said. “A shift in our urban demographics and the introduction of a green waste bin service are just two of the more significant introductions.”
“The present regulations are also a bit patchwork, having different rules that apply for different urban areas,” Mr Arthur said.
“There’s also the potential for inequity whereby some residents in some streets may be allowed to burn but their neighbours cannot.
“Ultimately this draft policy aims to better preserve our air quality, particularly in our urban areas.”
The draft policy also provides advice on steps necessary when undertaking backyard burning on an eligible property including proper neighbour notification and safety precautions.
Both the current and revised policies restrict burning to dead and dry vegetation resulting from routine property maintenance.
The amended draft policy will be placed on public exhibition from Monday 10 April through until Friday 5 May 2017.
All comments will be collated and included in a final report to be presented to Council for adoption.
For more information on the draft policy including online mapping showing eligible properties and electronic submission form, visit www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au.
Documents can also be viewed at Council’s Moss Vale Civic Centre, Bowral, Moss Vale, Mittagong and mobile libraries.
Council’s draft Urban Backyard Burning of Vegetation Policy does not restrict residents from gaining approval from their relevant fire authority (NSW Rural Fire Service or NSW Fire and Rescue) for hazard reduction activities.
Details of all current backyard burning restrictions can be found online at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/backyard-burning.