Narrabri Shire Council

Burning of Dead and Dry Vegetation in Narrabri Shire
Council grants approval to burn, under clause 13(2) of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. The approval is giving permission to pollute and is not giving permission to light a fire. The manager or owner of the land is to seek additional information from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) or NSW Fire and Rescue (FRNSW) about approvals required from those agencies.

Council’s burning approval is only for the purpose of disposal of dead and dry vegetative material through pile burning. Vegetative material must consist only of that which accumulates on the prescribed parcel of land during the normal use of the land. Council cannot approve any other type of burning different from the burning of dead and dry vegetation. It should be noted that generally in residential areas other methods of disposing of vegetation are available therefore burning will only be permitted as a last resort.

In what areas of Narrabri Shire is burning of vegetation permitted?
Council issues fire permits depending on the land zoning and the size of the property:

1. Blanket approval
Only owners and occupiers of land with an area greater than 4000m2 and zoned Primary Production (RU1), Forestry (RU3), Primary Production Small Lots (RU4), Villages ( RU5), Environmental Management (E3) under the Narrabri Local Environmental Plan 2012 are covered by Council blanket approval. To determine if a property is within these zonings, the applicant may contact Narrabri Shire Council on 02 6799 6866. 

2. Fire permit application to Council
Should a property be outside of these zones, application to burn may be made on a case-by-case basis. The application for burning permit assessment process is available on Council’s website or alternatively, the applicant may call Council to obtain details on how to apply. An application for burning permit shall incur a fee stabilised in the Council’s annual schedule of fees. The fee is to be paid at the time of lodgement of an application. Payment of fees will not guarantee that approval will be granted.

How do I apply for approval?
If you wish to burn dead and dry vegetation, you need to apply to Council for approval through Council’s written application form and pay the associated fee as specified in Council’s fees and charges. An application must be made 15 days prior to the proposed date of burning.

Council officers will assess the application in accordance with the POEO Clean Air Regulation 2002 (NSW), taking the following matters into consideration:
• the impact on regional air quality and amenity
• the impact on local air quality and amenity
• the feasibility of re-use, recycling or other alternative means of disposal
• any opinions of the sector of the public likely to be affected by the proposal approved.

Once all this is considered Council will advise the applicant in writing if they are permitted to burn. A fire permit will also need to be obtained from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) prior to lighting a fire on land within the FRNSW's Fire District.
This approval does not remove the requirement, or exempt the person from the obligation, to obtain relevant permits or licences under other legislation including the Rural Fires Act 1997, Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Council reserve the rights to modify this notice of approval to burn dead and dry vegetation at any time.

An approval from Council to burn does not negate the requirement to apply for an open air burning permit from the Rural Fire Service during the Bush Fire Danger period or from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) where applicable. Contact your local NSW RFS Fire Control Centre or Fire & Rescue NSW Station to obtain a fire permit.


What activities do not require Council Approval?

Council cannot approve any other type of burning different from the burning of dead and dry vegetation.
An approval to burn from Council is not required for the following activities:
• Lighting a fire for cooking, recreation such as camping, picnicking and for fire fighting instruction.
• Burning of vegetation for carrying out agricultural operations
• Lighting a fire for the purposes for instruction of methods of fire fighting
• Bushfire hazard reduction work under the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) (i.e. hazard reduction work with a hazard reduction certificate issued by the Rural Fire Service).


How can I burn safely?
A person who burns vegetation in the open must do so by such practicable means as are necessary to prevent or minimise air pollution. Methods in preventing or minimising air pollution may include the following:
• taking into account the potential for smoke impacting on any person having regard to:
• wind direction,
• weather conditions,
• the length of time that the material being burnt is likely to burn,
• taking reasonable measures to ensure that the material being burnt is not wet,
• burning only material that is suitable for disposal by burning, having regard to possible effects on human health and the environment.

For more information visit: The NSW RFS ‘Standards for Pile Burning’ and ‘Before You Light That Fire’ documents as available from www.rfs.nsw.gov.au


Are there penalties for non-compliance?

A person who, without reasonable excuse does not comply with the conditions of approval is guilty of an offence, Maximum Penalty 30 Penalty units (Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 clause 135).
The burning of vegetation in the Narrabri Shire Council without approval may incur a Maximum Penalty of 100 Penalty Units (Corporation) and 50 Penalty Units (Individual). This excludes exempt fires as described in the background section of this policy, as per the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 clause 12.