The NSW government has consolidated the planning rules that manage the environment so while now simpler, these rules will still be robust enough to protect the state’s water catchments, urban bushland, world heritage areas and waterways.

According to the Department of Planning and Environment’s deputy secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, seven policies, or SEPPs, will be incorporated into the proposed new Environment SEPP to ensure the application of environmental controls becomes an easier process.

“Importantly, the reforms address planning complexities by consolidating a series of planning instruments. This provides the clarity to achieve good outcomes for some of the state’s most important water catchments and waterways such as Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury-Nepean River,” Frame says.

“Developments in these areas need to address impacts on the environment’s ecosystems as they provide aesthetic, cultural, social and economic benefits to the community,” she says.

The new Environment SEPP will:

• Simplify the NSW planning system and reduce complexity without reducing the rigour necessary when considering environmental matters.

• Provide a consistent level of environmental protection to that which is currently delivered under the existing SEPPs.

• Establish a modern and consolidated policy framework for key environmental and heritage assets which can be applied to additional areas as future needs dictate.

The proposal is now on exhibition for community feedback for an extended period until 15 January 2018 on the Planning NSW website.