New planning controls for flood-prone land

Tweed Shire Council
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14 July 2021

Tweed Shire Council

New planning controls for flood-prone land

Changes take effect across the state from today

A flood level marker at Murwillumbah.

In March 2017 ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie brought widespread flooding to the Tweed. A flood level marker at Murwillumbah.

New planning controls for flood-prone land will begin to come into effect from today (14 July) to better protect life and property in the event of extreme flooding in the Tweed.

The NSW Government announced the new, final Flood Prone Land Package in late May, following an earlier public exhibition in 2020, which includes compulsory and opt-in reforms to land use regulations and planning controls.

The amendments will support Council’s ability to manage the risk of extreme flooding through improved land planning and development controls, with some of the new controls to commence from today. Savings provisions apply to development applications lodged with Council before today.

When fully implemented, the package will mean 2 new flood-related development clauses are included in the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 and the Tweed City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2012.

The first is mandatory and will be automatically inserted into all Tweed Shire Council LEPs. Commencing today, it will replace the existing flood planning clause and applies to land within the flood planning area. It will require Council to consider changes to flood risk as a result of climate change.

The second is optional and is known as the Special Flood Consideration clause and requires a separate State Environmental Planning Policy amendment.

At its planning meeting on Thursday 1 July, Council resolved to opt-in to this clause, which will apply to land above the flood planning area, and up to the probable maximum flood level. This new clause will not yet come into effect until the state government has completed a further extended period of consultation with the public, councils and industry.

The second clause would require Council to be satisfied that a proposed development:

  • complies with any Council flood policies, development control plan and is consistent with any adopted floodplain risk management plan
  • will not affect the safe occupation of and evacuation from land
  • incorporates appropriate measures to manage risk to life from flooding
  • is designed to incorporate high level evacuation routes appropriate to the flood risk
  • will not adversely affect the environment during flood events due to hazardous materials.

This clause is expected to be put into place and apply to all new development applications in the early part of 2022.

Director of Planning and Regulation Vince Connell said the new controls require substantially the same level of assessment as Council’s current LEP and Development Control Plan – Section A3.

“For a number of decades, Tweed Shire Council has undertaken extensive studies to guide the predicted levels of both the more contemporary 1 in 100 year flood modelling, as well as more recent scientific studies of predicted climate change impacts,” Mr Connell said.

“Therefore, it is envisaged the introduction of these new measures will have a limited impact on the current development assessment and administrative practices of Tweed Shire Council.

“These controls will help councils across the state manage flood risk in a more consistent manner.”

For people buying or selling property, Council has updated Section 10.7 Planning Certificate information and mapping to reflect these changes.

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