The New South Wales Government has released landmark guidelines to assist councils and State agencies plan for the impact of sea level rise.
Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the NSW Coastal Planning Guideline: Adapting to Sea Level Rise would help councils plan for the 600, 000 new residents expected to move to the state’s 1500 kilometre coastline by 2036.
“These guidelines illustrate the leadership and certainty the NSW Government is taking on planning for our coastline, including sea level rise,” Mr Kelly said in a statement.
“It’s vital to properly plan for sea level rise to ensure homes are not built too close to hazard areas.”
The guidelines urged councils to consider applications on land which could be affected by future coastal changes or seal level rise by 2100 against strict criteria. The criteria may require homes to be designed in a way that they can be relocated away from or above risk areas. If a proposal cannot be adapted to sea level rise, councils could refuse development consent.
Councils have also been advised to avoid intensifying land-use, such as rezoning land from rural to urban, in areas subject to coastal risks if the impacts of sea level rise cannot be effectively managed.
The guidelines also called on councils to identify “sea level rise investigation areas” where coastal risk mapping was not yet in place, to help inform decisions on rezoning requests.
Mr Kenny said the release of the guidelines was a “landmark moment” in planning practices.
“The guidelines will be subject to review if future reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or CSIRO indicate significant changes to projected sea level rise are expected,” he added.
Australian Coastal Society president and University of Sydney emeritus professor Bruce Thom welcomed the guidelines.
“This is the best example in Australia of what local planner can achieve,” Professor Thom said.
“The guidelines offer landowners greater clarity in making decisions about future developments in areas at risk to sea level rise under climate change conditions.”
The release of the guidelines follows last year’s publication of the NSW Sea Level Rise Policy Statement. That document set out the Government’s sea level rise planning benchmarks, projecting a 40 centimetre rise by 2050 and a 90 centimetre rise by 2100.
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