NOTICE OF MOTION - WOOD SMOKE
Submitted by: Councillor Rory Amon
A. Council staff review existing controls to identify options for improved regulation of wood smoke.
B. Staff report to councillors the outcome of the review for workshop, including what other steps staff consider could be taken by council in relation to reducing wood smoke.
ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER REPORT
In accordance with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice Clause 4.15(a) I offer the following report on this matter to assist Council in the deliberation of this motion:
Measures potentially available to Council to manage wood smoke include:
Section 68 Approvals under the Local Government Act 1993 Enforcement powers under the Protection of the Environmental Operations Act 1997 Development Control Plans and conditions of consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 Educational initiatives A high level review of these measures can be undertaken within existing resources in order to workshop potential options for further consideration by Councillors for improving management of wood smoke. Currently only the Pittwater Development Control Plan contains provisions related to the control of solid fuel or wood burning appliances. If there was a proposal to introduce a new requirement across the Northern Beaches in relation to the issue of wood smoke, this would be likely to require the drafting of a new control. This control would need to be reported to Council, with a subsequent period of exhibition and then a further report to Council seeking adoption of new controls into the relevant Development Control Plans.
Notwithstanding the above, short of the introduction of a total ban, Council is limited in its ability to control wood smoke to ensure existing and new appliances comply with the relevant standards and the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act particularly in relation to Domestic Air Pollution. Any proposals to introduce a ban for specific areas of the Northern Beaches would need to be supported by scientific evidence as to why one area is identified over another area. This would likely require detailed studies and a period of monitoring. No budget provision has been made within 2017/18 or 2018/19 operational budgets for such studies to be conducted.
The existing legislative provisions, and in particular Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993, do not prohibit wood burning appliances, and instead provide means for Council to regulate their use. Introduction by Council of any measures to prohibit use of wood burning appliances would be a change in policy position, having been permitted in the three former Council’s and currently by Northern Beaches Council, and could be subject to legal challenge in the absence of primary legislation which supports it.