What is the DLEP 2002 & why is it relevant to the National Park?

30th November, 2003

As any bushwalker knows, what happens up on the ridgetops effects the quality of the National Park below. We are already too familiar with weeds which have come from the gardens above and swimming holes which are now silted up. It wasn't so long ago when we could drink from the creeks.

This Plan is an important step to reversing that trend, so that maybe we will again be able to drink from the creeks in the park. Draft Local Environment Plan 2002 is the draft of the legal document which will set out the rules about how land can be used and developed in most of the Blue Mountains. (Other parts of the mountains are already covered by LEP 91 and this is likely to extend to those areas also)

BUT, this is only a DRAFT and Council needs to hear from us all. If we don't ALL speak up and support the good environmental protections in it, Council will only hear the noise of those objecting, because they are worried about their 'rights' to economic benefits from land.

We need to write or email to Council before 5pm Friday December 13th. Silence on this matter is support for further damage to OUR National Park. This an opportunity to ACT - no point complaining later!

Below is a form letter below with some explanatory notes in italics - please delete these, or use them to reword some of the points in your letter or email to Council.

See mailing/emailing details at end.


Submission to Draft LEP 2002

Dear Sir/Madam

I support the overall direction of the DLEP 2002 which will give greater protection to the National Park from future development activities in the urban area.

The particular features I support are:

  1. Council will be able to reject developments on land adjacent to the Park if it is not satisfied that there will be no adverse impact on the Park. [ref Clause 43(5)]

However this should be extended to apply to all land.

  1. Creeklines will be better protected by retaining native vegetation along the watercourse corridor. This will help the water quality of creeks in the Park and reduce the sediment.

Creeklines and a buffer area around them have been protected by Environmental Protection zones and Protected Areas.

  1. Hanging swamps will be better protected through Environmental Protection zones. This will help keep the waterfalls flowing with clean water in dry times.

Environmental Protection zones are the best way to prevent development and other damaging activities on both public and private land. Most privately owned lots with swamps have been zoned EP around the swamp and buffer, with the less constrained sections zoned for residential use.

  1. Restrictions on the amount of hard surfaces will help with groundwater recharge (keeping swamps and creeks alive) and protect creeks from damage. Increased hard surfaces add to the peak flows after storms which cause erosion, undercutting of creek banks, and siltation.

It is proposed to increase the amount of soft surfaces in new developments in Living Zones to 60% (in Living-Conservation and Living-Bushland Conservation) or to 40% (in Living-General) as outlined in Schedule 2.

Also ask Council to increase the area of land to be retained as soft surfaces in the Employment zones. 20% is proposed in Employment-General and 30% in Employment-Enterprise in Schedule 3.

  1. A ban on planting environmental weeds in one zone (Living Bushland Conservation) is a good start to stop the cause of weed invasion into the National Park. This ban should be extended to landscaping in all zones.

Wind, water and birds all carry weeds down into the National Park where they displace native plants and damage native animal habitats.

This 'ban' is outlined in clause 54 & the weed list is in Schedule 6.

Also ask Council to explicitly define planting of environmental weeds and other non indigenous plants in EP zones and Protected Areas as a prohibited activity.

  1. I agree with the minimum lot size of 1200 sq metres in Living-Conservation and Living-Bushland Conservation zones. Any reduction in this lot size would lead to higher populations in outer areas and more impacts on the National Park.

Smaller lot sizes would lead to significant increases in population densities in these zones. If the current lot size of 700 sq m were to remain, the potential for 8450 additional new lots would have inevitable impacts on environmentally sensitive areas, both directly and also through the provision of additional infrastructure.

The increased population resulting from a 700 sq m minimum lot size would be beyond the capacity of the infrastructure. I believe that the economic and environmental costs of providing adequate social and utility services in the future would be excessive.

I ask Council to proceed with the adoption of this Plan without any further delay.

This plan is a huge step forward from the current LEP 4 and has addressed the major issues identified by the community in response to the previous draft and by the report from the Commission of Inquiry on draft LEP97.

Whilst I acknowledge that there are aspects which could be improved, I believe these should be dealt with by a review of the Plan within the next two years. I would oppose a further Inquiry and believe that minor details could be rectified without a re-exhibition. Any further delay will result in many more damaging developments.