The Regional Contaminated Land Capacity Building Program aims to build the technical expertise and capacity of the Councils within the Hunter and Central Coast region to effectively identify, assess and manage contaminated land management issues to create a liveable and sustainable Hunter and Central Coast region with thriving people and natural environments. The program also aims to build connection and alignment with other key state organisations to see us all constantly value-adding on a regional scale.
Primary elements of the program include:
- Development of regionally consistent contaminated land policies and procedures
- Training and capacity building forums for Council staff to improve individual and corporate knowledge and skills, and to provide access to external technical expertise and support
- Assisting Councils with the transfer of management responsibilities for Underground Petroleum Storage Systems from the NSW EPA, which commenced in 2019.
- A Helpdesk Service for Council staff seeking technical advice on issues involving contaminated land management (land use planning, UPSS and public land management).
Recent publications produced under the Program include:
- Initiating the Investigation, Remediation and Site Audit Process
- Conducting an Initial Review Procedure
- MODEL Regional Contaminated Land Policy – Land Use Planning
Register of Contaminated Lands Consent Conditions
Investigating and managing contamination through the development application process is a primary means through which Councils meet their legislative responsibilities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
To assist Councils with this task a Register of Contaminated Land Consent Conditions is now available. The Register provides context and model “Requests for Information” or “Conditions of Development Consent” for each stage of the Contaminated Land Process.
The Register aims to:
- Encourage a consistent approach by Councils in the Hunter Region in the assessment and management of contaminated land through the development assessment process; and
- Ensure conditions of consent are appropriately worded to meet planning requirements and are enforceable in law.
Model Regional Policy
A MODEL Regional Contaminated Land Policy – Land Use Planning is now available to support member Councils develop local Contaminated Land policies in a regionally consistent manner.
Adapting the MODEL Regional Policy to their Local Government Area will assist Councils demonstrate adherence with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and the NSW Managing Land Contamination Planning Guidelines – SEPP 55 Remediation of Land 1998 (“the Planning Guidelines”), which strongly recommends that “each local council develop and adopt a formal policy for managing land contamination to provide a local context for decision making” and that “the policy should be consistent with the Guidelines and either adopt or be based on them, with variations based on local conditions and procedure”.
The Policy seeks to achieve the key principles of:
- Ensuring any land use changes will not increase risk to human health or the environment
- Avoiding inappropriate restrictions on land use
- Providing information to support decision making and to inform the community of Council’s requirements.
For Council Staff seeking the Helpdesk Service, please contact Peter Brennan, Regional Program Manager Contaminated Land – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0427 754 703.
The program has been funded by the NSW Government through the EPA’s Contaminated Land Management Program.