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The Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 allows councils to approve open burning in certain cases.

If you are unsure whether you are able to conduct open burning on your property, please firstly contact Council or the Lower Hunter Rural Fire Service.

Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer to this question is no.
Burning general waste is prohibited under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

Property owners can burn tree branches and vegetative material on their premises if their allotment is greater than 4000 square metres in area and zoned Rural RU1, RU2, RU3, RU5 and Large Lot Residential R5 under Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013. However, permission to burn tree waste on approved properties is subject to the following conditions:

  • Open fires must be at least 25m away from any residential dwelling or major building (as defined by the NSW Rural Fire Service publication Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code)
  • Adjacent property owners must be given a minimum of 24 hours notice (verbal or written) of an intention to burn
  • An open fire must be supervised at all times
  • All combustible material within a 4.5 metre radius of the fire must be removed
  • Only one pile of vegetation may be burnt on any parcel of land at any one time, with the maximum size of any such pile to be 4m in diameter and 1.5m in height
  • Burning should only take place when weather conditions are calm and predicted to remain so
  • Burning should not cause a smoke hazard
  • Approval to burn does not apply during proclaimed ‘No burn Days’, ‘Total Fire Ban’ declarations or when the Fire Danger Rating is ‘Very High’ or above
  • Land managers/owners must contact the Lower Hunter Rural Fire Service 24 hours prior to lighting on 4015 0000. If burning over the weekend, please phone between 9.00am-4.30pm on the Friday prior, to advise of burning.
  • Approval to burn in the open during the Statutory Bush Fire Danger Period is subject to a permit from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and any additional conditions contained in the permit
  • Approval to burn in the open at any time during the year on properties within a Fire & Rescue NSW fire district is subject to a permit from Fire & Rescue New South Wales and any additional conditions contained in that permit

The short answer to the above question is no.

Open burning in the Port Stephens LGA is permitted only in the following circumstances:

  • On parcels of land not less than 4000 square metres and zoned RU1, RU2, RU3, RU5 and R5 on which the vegetation grew (*subject to conditions)
  • As part of an agricultural operation (eg: burning stubble, orchard prunings, diseased crops, weeds or pest animal habitats, pasture for regenerative purposes or any other legitimate agricultural activity)
  • For cooking or barbequing
  • To conduct a fire for recreational purposes (eg: camping, scouting, and picnicking)
  • To conduct training in methods of firefighting by an authorised person
  • In a licensed incinerator meeting the requirements of the Environment Protection Authority
  • To carry out bush fire hazard reduction work under the Rural Fires Act 1997
  • To burn an animal that has died or is suspected to have died of a disease proclaimed under the Stock Diseases Act 1923 or the Exotic Diseases of Animals Act 1991
  • A permit must be obtained where a fire is likely to be dangerous to any building on the land. During the Statutory Fire Danger Period fires are not permitted unless a Permit has been obtained from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Approval to burn does not apply during proclaimed ‘No burn Days’, ‘Total Fire Ban’ declarations or when the Fire Danger Rating is ‘Very High’ or above.

Approval to burn in the open during the Statutory Bush Fire Danger Period is subject to a permit from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and any additional conditions contained in the permit.

Approval to burn in the open at any time during the year on properties within a Fire & Rescue NSW fire district is subject to a permit from Fire & Rescue New South Wales and any additional conditions contained in that permit

Authorised Officers of Council and certain officers of other authorities are empowered to serve Penalty Infringement Notices where it can be established that there has been a breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

The fines associated with Penalty Infringement Notices are set by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

Contact

Environmental Health and Compliance
Phone: (02) 4988 0255
Email: council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au

Lower Hunter Rural Fire Service
For General enquiries please phone (02) 4015 0000
For 24 hour permit notifications please phone 1800 890 533

Email: lower.hunter@rfs.nsw.gov.au