Dear Mr Page,
Your intervention to excise environmental zones from north coast Local Environment Plans on the eve of exhibition of the Byron LEP has left Byron’s planning in a mess as no-one knows what you are going to allow us to protect from inappropriate development.
Your vague press release is not a sufficient basis for implementing what is a fundamental change to NSW’s planning system. Will you please issue clear guidelines for what you will allow to be included in environmental protection zones and detail your review process.
You claim (Echo 25 September) that your intent is to not allow environmental protection zones over ‘normal agricultural farming land’. By this do you mean already cleared land?
Does this mean that you will still allow Byron to implement the intent of its 2004 award-winning Biodiversity Conservation Strategy to include high-conservation-value native vegetation in E2 zones?
Will you allow Byron to include rainforest, old growth forests, core koala habitat, wetlands, riparian habitat, and/or endangered ecosystems in E2 zones? If not, what can we include?
If you won’t let Byron zone its exceptionally high-conservation-value vegetation for protection, will you instead allow us to continue to use our Tree Preservation Order to limit inappropriate clearing of native vegetation across the shire?
This region’s forests are the most biodiverse in NSW and are recognised as international and national biodiversity hotspots because of our exceptional numbers of endemic species and the threats caused by over-clearing. Consequently we have the highest numbers of plants and animals threatened with extinction in NSW.
If not to facilitate coal-seam gas mining, can you please explain why the far north coast was singled out for excising of environmental protection zones?