New guidelines for developing in bush prone areas in NSW have been released, to assist local government and landowners to plan and develop in a way that is responsive to bushfire risks and minimises the potential for harm to human life and property. This replaces earlier 2006 guidelines.

Following the recent 2020 bushfires, appropriate planning and management of bushfire risks have seen renewed attention, including the announcement of a Royal Commission into mitigation of bushfire risks. With climate change projected to increase the severity of bushfires in the future, anticipating and planning for such risks is essential. 

The guidelines help landowners and developers to understand what form of development is likely to be approved, and must be complied with for a range of development including various forms of complying development. Those with approved DAs in bushfire prone areas where construction has not commenced should seek advice on the applicable Planning for Bush Fire Protection (PBP) guidelines.

The guidelines will be of interest to local government planners, as when local environmental plans are reviewed, zoning and development standards should consider bush fire risks and the new PBP guidelines.  

Insurers offering insurance over residential and commercial properties in bush fire prone areas should also consider the implications of the guidelines in reducing risks.