Greater Sydney, particularly its rural land, is at risk from biosecurity hazards such as pests and diseases that could threaten agriculture, the environment and community safety. Biodiversity hazards are being managed by the NSW Government through the Greater Sydney Peri Urban Biosecurity Program.
In planning for growth, consideration of natural hazards and cumulative impacts include avoiding locating growth and development in areas exposed to natural hazards and limiting growth in existing communities that are exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards. In exceptional circumstances, there may be a need to reduce the number of people and amount of property that are vulnerable to natural hazards, through managed retreat of development.
The impact of extreme heat on communities and infrastructure networks can also be significant. More highly developed parts of the District can be exposed to extreme heat as a result of the urban heat island effect. Increasing the tree canopy is important to help reduce those impacts. The State Heatwave Sub Plan, which sits under the NSW State Emergency Management Plan, details the control and coordination arrangements across State and local government for the preparation for, response to, and immediate recovery from a heatwave.
Current guidelines and planning controls also aim to minimise hazards and pollution by:
- using buffers to limit exposure to hazardous and offensive industries, noise and odour
- designing neighbourhoods and buildings that minimise exposure to noise and air pollution in the vicinity of busy rail lines and roads, including freight networks
- cooling the landscape by retaining water and protecting, enhancing and extending the urban tree canopy to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Minimising interfaces with hazardous areas can reduce risks. Clearing vegetation around developments on bushfire-prone land can help reduce risks from bushfire, but must be balanced with protecting bushland, and its ecological processes and systems. Planning on bushfire-prone land should consider risks and include hazard protection measures within the developable area. The Rural Fire Service requires new development to comply with the provisions of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006.