Wingecarribee Shire Council’s updated Urban Backyard Burning of Vegetation Policy was last week formally adopted following unanimous support by Councillors.
Adopted at Wednesday 26 July’s Ordinary Meeting of Council, the policy sets out changes to Council’s previous position on backyard burning.
Council’s Manager of Environment and Sustainability, Barry Arthur said the most significant changes involved the scope of the policy.
“Prior to this week’s amendments the policy was a bit patchwork,” he said. “There were different rules for different towns and villages across the Shire.”
“The biggest change is that only properties larger than 4000 square metres, which is the old one acre, across all of the Shire’s towns and villages can now undertake backyard burning of dry vegetation as long as certain conditions are met,” Mr Arthur said.
Other requirements detailed within the policy include ensuring the burn meets Rural Fire Service (RFS) standards for pile burns, giving adequate notice (24 hours) to neighbours, only burning dead and dry vegetation and obtaining appropriate permits from the RFS or Fire and Rescue NSW during bush fire danger periods.
The changes are a result of feedback from residents following extensive public consultation on the Draft Urban Backyard Burning of Vegetation Policy and the introduction of Council’s Green Waste bin.
“Each year Council receives a lot of complaints about problem burning,” Mr Arthur added. “This was also reflected in many of the submissions we received.”
“Some of these complaints cited the negative impacts that problem burning causes to the environment and the health, safety and amenity of nearby neighbours.”
“To address these issues fairly and equitably we took a uniform approach to the allowable property size of 4000 square metres right across the Shire’s towns and villages,” Mr Arthur said.
The policy does not apply to the use of barbeques, camp cookers, fire pits or wood heaters.
The changes to the policy will come into effect on 1 April 2018 and following the conclusion of this season’s forthcoming Bush Fire Danger Period.
“We remind residents that until April next year the current burning restrictions still apply.”
Details of Council’s current Backyard Burning restrictions can be found online at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/backyard-burning.