There are currently 2 bushfire controls used across Victoria:
- Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) designation
- Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)
Both of these controls apply to land in the City of Whittlesea.
As per the recommendations of the Final Report of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, we are looking to develop a new bushfire management local planning policy. This has been proposed to be introduced into the Whittlesea Planning Scheme via a Planning Scheme Amendment C198.
The Amendment proposes to:
- Introduce a Bushfire Management Local Planning Policy at Clause 22.03
- Update the Municipal Strategic Statement at Clause 13.05 (Bushfire)
What will the new bushfire policy do?
The new policy is required to assist in decision-making on planning applications where fire risk is a consideration.
The policy aims to fill a gap in current planning guidance in the Whittlesea Planning Scheme for land that is at risk of bushfire and/or grassfire, however is not covered by the BMO that is reserved for areas with extreme fire risk (such as land with potential for extreme levels of radiant heat and extreme ember attack).
The policy utilises the designated BPA map (Building Regulations 2006) to identify the full range of fire risks in the municipality, including grassfire, and provides objectives and policies to assist in reducing risk.
Grassfires have been occurring with increasing frequency in the City of Whittlesea and the policy provides guidance on a range of developments where a planning permit is already required.
The proposed Bushfire Management Local Planning Policy was placed on public exhibition in September/October 2016, where we invited residents to comment on the draft policy.
5 submissions were received and all were resolved to the satisfaction of submitters.
The amendment is currently awaiting approval by the Minister for Planning.
Following the public exhibition, our officers reviewed all submissions, with minor changes to the policy.
Council adopted the revised policy on 7 February 2017, before it was submitted to the Minister for Planning.
If you have any queries or would like further information contact our Strategic Planning and Design Unit on 9217 2498.