What is a Local Environmental Plan?

    A Local Environmental Plan (LEP) helps local councils to plan and manage growth in a sustainable way. It is a legal document that provides controls and guidelines for how land is used, and how it can be developed. It determines what can be built, where it can be built, and what activities can occur. 

    An LEP includes both the written instrument and a range of maps. These need to be viewed together to understand zoning and controls across an area. LEPs are supported by Development Control Plans (DCPs) that define the specific standards needed for residential, business and commercial areas in terms of accessibility, environmental performance, building form and design as well as character.

    Learn more about LEPs 

    How does this relate to the Local Strategic Planning Statement?

    In 2019 we exhibited our new Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) and asked the community about their vision for land use to 2036. While your feedback informed our new LSPS, it is not currently reflected in the Bayside LEP 2020. As directed by the State Government, we have focused on combining our existing LEP’s into one document. Once this is in place, we will use your feedback to begin updating the new LEP.

    Your feedback remains valid and important, and will contribute to future amendments to the LEP as we progress the more complex and extended projects outlined in the LSPS. We will continue to consult with you about any changes we make in the future.

    My letter mentions a particular clause that applies to my property, what is this about?

    We wrote to all rate-payers in the Bayside LGA about the draft LEP. Some people received letters that referred to a particular clause, or clauses, that apply to their property and have been updated. There were two clauses that we wrote to people about:

    • The Riparian Land and Waterways Clause, which also applies to Wetlands
    • The Terrestrial Biodiversity Clause

    The rest of our FAQ’s are all about these clauses.   

    Where can I find the current LEPs?

    You can view our current LEPs here:

    Rockdale Local Environmental Plan 2011 - https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2011/621

    Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 2013 - https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2013/313/full

    Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 1995 - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/1995/274

    What is a Development Control Plan?

    A Development Control Plan (DCP) supports the Local Environmental Plan by defining and articulating the specific standards needed for residential, business and commercial areas in terms of accessibility, environmental performance, building form and design as well as character. We will also be working on a new DCP later this year. 

Questions about the Riparian Land, Waterways and Wetlands Clause and/or the Terrestrial Biodiversity Clause

    What is the Riparian land, wetlands and waterways Clause?

    The proposed Riparian land, wetlands and waterways clause for the Bayside LEP is:

    6.7 Riparian land, wetlands and waterways

     (1) The objectives of this clause is to protect and maintain the following:

    (i) water quality within waterways, and

    (ii) the stability of the bed and banks of waterways, and

    (iii) native flora and fauna and their habitats, and

    (iv) ecological processes within waterways and riparian lands, and

    (v) scenic and cultural heritage values of waterways and riparian lands.

     (2) This clause applies to:

    (a) Land identified as 'Riparian Land' on the Riparian Lands Map,

    (b) Land identified as ‘Waterway’ on the Waterways Map.

    (c) Land identified as ‘Wetlands’ on the Wetlands Map.

    (3) In deciding whether to grant development consent for development on land to which this clause applies, the consent authority must consider:

    (a) whether the development is likely to have an adverse impact on the following: 

    (i) the surface and groundwater characteristics of the land, including water quality, water flows and salinity,

    (ii) native flora and fauna, including migratory species and the provision and quality of their habitats,

    (iii) the stability of the bed, shore and banks of any waterway,

    (iv) the free passage of fish and other native aquatic and terrestrial organisms within or along any waterway and riparian land,

    (v) public access to, and use of, any public waterway and its foreshores, and

    (b) any future rehabilitation or re-creation of the waterway and riparian areas, and

    (c) any appropriate measures proposed to avoid, minimise or mitigate the impacts of the development, and

    (d) whether or not the development is likely to increase water extraction from the watercourse, and 55

    (e) opportunity for the rehabilitation of existing piped or channelised waterways to a near natural state.

    (4) Development consent must not be granted to development on land to which this clause applies unless the consent authority is satisfied that the development:

    (a) is consistent with the objectives of this clause, and

    (b) is designed, sited and will be managed to avoid any potential adverse environmental impacts, or

    (c) if a potential adverse environmental impact cannot be avoided—the development will be managed to mitigate that impact

    What is the Terrestrial Biodiversity Clause?

    The proposed Terrestrial Biodiversity Clause for the Bayside LEP is:

    (1) The objective of this clause is to maintain and enhance terrestrial biodiversity by:

    (a) protecting native fauna and flora and the ecological processes necessary for their continued existence, and

    (b) encouraging the recovery and conservation of native fauna and flora and their habitats, and

    (c) protecting, restoring and enhancing biodiversity corridors.

    (2) This clause applies to land identified as “Biodiversity” on the Terrestrial Biodiversity Map.

    (3) In deciding whether to grant development consent for development on land to which this clause applies, the consent authority must consider:

    (a) the objectives of this clause, and

    (b) whether the development is likely to have:

    (i) any adverse impact on the condition, ecological value and significance of the fauna and flora on the land, and

    (ii) any adverse impact on the importance of the vegetation on the land to the habitat and survival of native fauna, and

    (iii) any potential to fragment, disturb or diminish the biodiversity structure, function and composition of the land, and

    (iv) any adverse impact on the habitat elements providing connectivity on the land, and

    (c) any appropriate measures proposed to avoid, minimise or mitigate the impacts of the development, and

    (d) any opportunity to restore or enhance remnant vegetation, habitat and biodiversity corridors

    (4) Development consent must not be granted to development on land to which this clause applies unless the consent authority is satisfied that:

    (a) the development is designed, sited and will be managed to avoid any potentially adverse environmental impact, or 

    (b) if any potentially adverse environmental impact cannot be avoided by adopting feasible alternatives:

    (i) the development is designed, sited and will be managed to minimise that impact, and

    (ii) the development includes measures to offset the loss of biodiversity values.

    How will this impact my property?

    Riparian Lands and Waterway Clause

    The clause and the associated map will be part of our new LEP, which helps us to plan and manage growth in a sustainable way. Properties that are identified on the map will be affected by the clause.

    The properties surrounding and linking our riparian land and waterways play an extremely important role in protecting these areas. Therefore, when a property affected by the Riparian land and Waterways clause submits a Development Application to Council, they will need to show that the development minimises impact on the environment and, where possible, enhances environmental outcomes.

    As vegetation removal and water pollution are key threats in Bayside, we anticipate that many development applications will be required to demonstrate how they are protecting remnant vegetation, incorporating indigenous plants in landscaping, reducing erosion impacts and protecting water quality and flow during and post construction.

    Some developments that involve significant removal of vegetation, changes to the hydrology or are in highly environmentally sensitive areas may also be required submit additional environmental reports.

    These details would be further outlined in our Bayside Development Control Plan, which supports the LEP and is currently being developed. It will be on community exhibition later this year. 

    Terrestrial Biodiversity Clause

    The clause and the associated map will be part of our new LEP, which helps us to plan and manage growth in a sustainable way. Properties that are identified on the map will be affected by the clause.

    The properties surrounding and linking our natural habitats play an extremely important role in protecting these areas. Therefore, when a property affected by the Terrestrial Biodiversity layer submits a Development Application to Council, they will need to show that the development minimises impact on the environment and, where possible, enhances local biodiversity outcomes.

    As weed infestation and habitat fragmentation are key threats in Bayside, we anticipate that some applications (eg. for new dwellings or mixed use and non-residential development that provides landscaped open space) will need to include a Landscape Plan. 

    This would include requirements for the majority of plants being established on site to be indigenous plants. Furthermore, if the development will result in a significant removal of vegetation a Flora and Fauna assessment may be required.

    These details would be further outlined in our Bayside Development Control Plan, which supports the LEP and is currently being developed. It will be on community exhibition later this year. 

    Is all of my property impacted?

    Only the section of your property that is covered by the relevant map has to respond to the Clause/s. For some properties that may cover the whole block, while for other properties it may be a sliver of the property. Council may however, consider the impacts of neighbouring development on the habitats the Clauses are designed to protect.  

    Does Council need access to my property?

    No, Council does not require access to your property.

    How has the mapping changed from the previous Rockdale and Botany LEPs?

    Riparian Land and Waterways:

    In the former Rockdale and Botany LEPs the area that was required to address the Riparian land and watercourses clause was not formally mapped. Instead, it was defined as applying to all watercourses and all land that is within 40 metres of the top of the bank of each watercourse. For greater clarity in the updated Bayside LEP, we have included a formal map which this clause now applies to. The wording of the clause has also been updated to harmonise the former Rockdale and former Botany Council’s approach to environmental protection and also to reflect opportunities to enhance the environmental attributes of the Bayside LGA. 

    Terrestrial Biodiversity and Wetlands:

    The mapping has not been altered from the previous Local Environmental Plans, however, Council has refined the wording of the clause to harmonise the former Rockdale and former Botany Council’s approach to environmental protection and also to reflect opportunities to enhance the environmental attributes of the Bayside LGA.

More information about Riparian Land, Waterways and Wetlands

    What are Riparian land and waterways?

    Riparianland is the area alongside creeks, streams, gullies, rivers and wetlands. The width of land mapped within the Bayside LEP as riparian land varies, depending on the stream order and the size of the watercourse it is next to.

    We do not map every waterway under the Bayside LEP, focussing instead on the larger watercourses in the LGA including Cooks River, Muddy Creek, and Wolli Creek.

    What are wetlands?

    Wetlands are areas of land where water covers the soil – all year or just at certain times of the year. They have ecosystems with plants, animals and soils that are adapted to wet conditions and can survive and often require permanent or periodic inundation. Water in wetlands can be still or flowing; it can be fresh, salty or brackish. Wetlands do not have to be continuously wet; many wetlands in Australia remain dry for years at a time.

    Why are they important?

    Riparian land can perform a range of important environmental functions such as: 

    • providing bed and bank stability and reducing bank and channel erosion
    • protecting water quality by trapping sediment, nutrients and other contaminants 
    • providing diversity of habitat for terrestrial, riparian and aquatic plants (flora) and animals (fauna)
    • providing connectivity between wildlife habitats 
    • conveying flood flows and controlling the direction of flood flows
    • providing an interface or buffer between developments and waterways 

    The waterways in the Bayside LGA flow into Botany Bay which is highly used for recreational activities including fishing, swimming and boating. If the waterways are in poor ecological health it impacts on environmental health and recreational opportunities of these waterways and Botany Bay.

    Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else. Wetlands and associated vegetation can provide a cooling effect to surrounding areas in summer and also moderate strong winds.

    Wetlands can also contribute to the well-being of the community by acting as urban green spaces which provide aesthetic appeal, landscape diversity and recreational opportunities. 

    What is special about Bayside's Riparian land, waterways and wetlands?

    Bayside’s riparian land, waterways and wetlands contain habitats for a range of threatened species, migratory species and endangered ecological communities, including:

    • Green and Golden Bell Frog
    • Crested Tern
    • Lesser Sand Plover
    • Curlew Sandpiper
    • Southern Myotis
    • Coastal Saltmarsh
    • Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub
    • Freshwater Wetlands
    • Crabs
    • Bream
    • Mullet
    • Oysters
    • Eels

    They are also home to many other native plants, animals and vegetation communities.

    What impacts the health of Bayside's Riparian land, waterways and wetlands?

    The key challenges include:

    • Vegetation removal
    • Weed infestation
    • Water pollution and 
    • Changes to the natural water regime

More information about Terrestrial Biodiversity

    What is biodiversity?

    Biodiversity comes from two words: 'Bio' meaning life and 'Diversity' meaning variety.

    Biodiversity is the variety of all living things. It includes plants, animals and micro-organisms, plus the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form.

    What is 'terrestrial' biodiversity?

    In this context, 'Terrestrial Biodiversity' means ecosystems where things are living and growing on land, rather than in the air or sea.

    Why is biodiversity important?

    Traditionally, highly urbanised areas such as Bayside have been regarded as locations of low biodiversity. However, there is increasing evidence that urban waterways; native vegetation remnants; and native and exotic trees in parks, streets and gardens provide habitat for a range of fauna species which are resident (such as frogs and possums), migrant (some shorebirds and microbats), and transitory (such as the Grey-headed Flying Fox).

    Urban biodiversity is not only important to conserving native plants and animals but contributes significantly to the quality of life for urban dwellers and the sustainability of our area including:

    • Air pollution removal: in particular ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide by large street trees and other vegetation
    • Microclimate regulation: trees provide shade and vegetation and waterway areas reduce the heat island effect; trees also keep cities warmer in winter by blocking wind and reducing wind speed
    • Flood regulation: wetlands and other vegetated areas can store large quantities of water and slow water movement thus reducing flood damage
    • Noise abatement: vegetation belts act as barriers for traffic noise along roads
    • Water filtration: wetlands remove sediments, nutrients and other contaminants from water
    • Recreational values: natural areas are highly valued for opportunities to play, exercise and de-stress
    • Aesthetic values: natural areas provide attractive surroundings, increase property values, promote tourism, and may even shape the cultural identity of urban localities
    • Educational values: easily accessible natural areas provide numerous opportunities for nature study, research and environmental education through field trips and excursions.
    • Carbon sequestration: urban trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and act as a sink by storing carbon in their biomass. Bayside wetlands are also carbon sinks because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil carbon pool

    Urban biodiversity is also important for the mental health and wellbeing of city dwellers. For much of Bayside’s population, green-spaces are the primary opportunity for direct contact with the natural environment.

    What is special about Bayside's biodiversity?

    Bayside contains habitats for a range of threatened species, migratory species and endangered ecological communities, including:

    • Green and Golden Bell Frog
    • Pied Oystercatcher
    • Bar-tailed Godwit
    • Curlew Sandpiper
    • Southern Myotis
    • Coastal Saltmarsh
    • Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub
    • Freshwater Wetlands
    • Downy Wattle
    • Magenta Lilly Pilly

    It is also home to many other native plants, animals and vegetation communities.

    What impacts the health of Bayside's biodiversity?

    The key challenges for Bayside's biodiversity include:

    • Habitat Fragmentation - when large habitats get divided into smaller, isolated patches of habitats. This is often due to human activity.
    • Weed Infestation
    • Water pollution and changes to the natural water regime