A recent rise in complaints over nuisance burning has led Council to issue a reminder to residents.
Investigations by Council Environmental Health Officers have found that prohibited materials such as plastic bags, plastics and agricultural waste and materials such as mattresses, tyres, furniture and household rubbish have been burned on some properties. Under current clean air legislation, offenders can face fines of $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a company.
There has also been an increase in people burning dried green waste in their backyards in urban residential areas. Again the same fines of $500 or $1000 can be issued to anyone burning green waste in a prohibited zone.
Only vegetation is permitted to be burned in rural and large lot residential zones (zones RU2 and R5), but it is still subject to the requirements of the Rural Fires Act and Regulations. All other zones require approval from Council. Residents should be aware that vegetation can be disposed of at the Englands Road waste facility – and is free when using the vouchers issued annually to ratepayers – so burning is only permitted as a last resort.
A Council approval to burn is not required for:
- Lighting a fire for cooking, recreation such as camping, picnicking;
- Burning of vegetation for carrying out agricultural operations;
- Lighting a fire for the purposes for instruction of methods of fire fighting; and
- Bushfire hazard reduction work undertaken with a hazard reduction certificate issued by the Rural Fire Service.
Anyone planning on lighting a fire is asked to check whether a Fire Permit is required with their local Rural Fire Service.
Householders with a wood heater are reminded that it is also prohibited to burn rubbish and painted or treated timber in a wood heater. It is best to burn only dry, seasoned hardwood and reduce smoke emissions by not allowing fires to smoulder overnight.
For further information on burning, please go to:
- Reducing wood smoke emissions- http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/woodsmoke/index.htm
- Reducing open air burning emissions- http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/air/reduceopenburn.htm
- NSW Rural Fire Service- rfs.nsw.gov.au
- Or Council’s website at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au and search ‘Control of Burning’.
Residents unsure of the zoning of their property can check via the mapping tools on Council’s website at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au