Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional and Yass Valley councils welcome changes

Published on 23 November 2017

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The NSW Government have made much needed changes to the State Environment Planning Policy regarding earthworks on properties, to help reduce environmental degradation as a result of the disposal of large amounts of soil and other natural materials. The key change to the Policy is in regards to the amount of virgin excavated natural material (clean fill) that can be brought onto a rural property without approval, which has been limited to 100 cubic metres in total.

“As one of three councils that border the ACT we have seen large amounts of clean fill being disposed of in our rural areas, simply because it is easier and cheaper to do so” said Yass Valley Mayor, Rowena Abbey. “These new regulations will allow our staff to better monitor the disposal of clean fill, ensuring that everyone compiles with the regulations set by the State Government and to help to reduce environmental degradation.”

Mayor Tim Overall of the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council echoed Yass Valley’s concerns about illegal dumping saying new regulations would reduce the likelihood and could mean consequences to those doing the illegal dumping.

“Dumping large amounts of clay, gravel, sand, soil or rock fines, and other materials in rural areas is impacting our natural environment,” said Mayor Overall. “Applying limits, and requiring those undertaking the dumping to gain development consent, are two steps in the right direction to protect our environment.”

Where more than 100 cubic metres is to be brought onto a property a Development Application (DA) needs to be submitted to council for assessment before any material is brought to the site. This includes, but is not limited to, material for building pads, roadworks, gully filling or top dressing of paddocks.

“The previous limit before a DA was required was up to 600mm deep across an entire site and it was very difficult for our staff to regulate,” said Yass Valley Environmental Services Coordinator, Mark Livermore. “This new limit will help staff from both councils to be able to work closely with residents and contractors to ensure people do the right thing and we are limiting the impact on the environment.”

100 cubic meters of clean fill equates to 5-10 dump trucks. If anyone sees what they suspect is illegal dumping they should report it to their local council or the EPA Environment Line (131 555) in NSW or Canberra Connect (13 22 81) in the ACT. The more information people can give, such as vehicle registration numbers, locations and times, the easier it is to follow up the report.