10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

New Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

The NSW Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Bill 2014 commenced on 1 August 2014, introducing the 10/50 rule.

This law provides owners of properties, within a nominated Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, to remove trees and other vegetation within certain distances of their homes without the need to seek any formal approval.

The new 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Law is a State Government initiative in conjunction with the NSW Rural Fire Service and is not an initiative or policy of Ryde Council.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has provided an online tool where you can find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area.

Note: The NSW Rural Fire Service (On 27 November 2014) released amendments to the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Code of Practice, reducing the clearing entitlement area.

The new laws are supported by the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice.

For further information on the 10/50 rule, please contact the NSW Rural Fire Service or direct enquiries to 10.50@rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Clarification on protected vegetation

Clearing in accordance with the 10/50 Code of Practice has the implication of enabling vegetation removal that has previously been protected by other NSW laws or Council’s tree preservation controls.

However, you need to be aware that clearing in accordance with the 10/50 Code of Practice does not provide you with an approval under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Commonwealth Department of Environment has prepared a fact sheet on Bushfire Management and National Environment Law.

Commonwealth protected species and vegetation communities occur in Ryde and include the Endangered Ecological Communities of Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and Coastal Saltmarsh, including Mangroves. Ecological Communities listed under the EPBC Act, remain protected provided they meet the condition categories identified under the EPBC Act.

For further information on these communities, as identified under the EPBC Act, please visit:

Ryde also contains vegetation communities listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Whilst these communities are not protected under the 10/50 Code of Practice in Ryde, they significantly add to the ecological, social and historic richness of our LGA.

What other actions is Council undertaking?

Council and other member agencies of the Hunters Hill, Ryde, Lane Cove and Willoughby Bush Fire Management Committee continue to undertake strategic bushfire mitigation actions that are documented in the Bush Fire Risk Management Plan. This plan guides an annual works program of multi-agency fuel reduction activities including burns, asset protection zone works, fire trail maintenance and community engagement. These works are prioritised and funded based on risk exposure. Other activities outside the scope of the Bush Fire Risk Management will not be undertaken at the expense of prior commitments.

View the current Bushfire Prone Land Map for Ryde Local Government Area(PDF, 2MB).

View the current Bushfire Risk Management Plan

View current Hazard Reduction Burns that may be proposed for the Ryde Local Government area.

Is clearing trees and vegetation sufficient to protect my property in Ryde?

  • Reducing the amount of vegetation that can act as fuel only deals with one aspect of being prepared for bushfires.
  • In Ryde, there are many other risk factors for bushfire such as: steep land, your house design and building materials, flammable materials close to your house. It is important to remember that 85% of homes are lost in bushfires due to blown embers.
  • Clearing will assist in creating defendable space but may not save your home especially in extreme or catastrophic conditions. The safest option is always to leave early.
  • Completing a bushfire survival plan, maintaining your property and considering how to improve the resilience of your buildings are all important steps to improve safety for the people living in your home and protecting your property.
  • Remember that some vegetation types don’t burn as readily as others and can form an ember screen.
  • If you are unsure about whether your trees and garden landscaping are posing a bush fire risk please seek expert advice from Council on 9952 8222 or the Rural Fire Service 9883 2000 before undertaking any clearing.

What are the penalties for unapproved tree works?

Where tree works are found to be in breach of the Vegetation Clearing Code and Development Control Plan 2014 Part 9.5 –Tree Preservation(PDF, 1MB), an on the spot fine can be issued of up to $6,000 for a business and $3,000 for an individual. However, depending on the seriousness of the unapproved works, legal action may be taken where fines of up to $110,000 can be issued, not including court costs.

The Development Control Plan 2014 Part 9.5 –Tree Preservation is a planning instrument under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. As such, any breach to this policy is subject to fines and/or legal action under this Act.