Coastal erosion management in NSW
|Erosion at Collaroy|
Coastal communities and local councils are facing difficult issues associated with coastal erosion along the NSW coastline. This issue is not new: records show coastal properties being affected by coastal erosion dating back to the 1940s.
NSW has an established framework for managing coastal erosion risks through the NSW Coastal Policy, the Coastal Protection Act 1979 and the Coastal Protection Regulation 2011. This framework involves local councils, with financial and technical support from the State, undertaking coastal hazard studies and developing coastal zone management plans which then inform land-use planning, development controls and coastal activities. These plans should contain a range of suitable management strategies to inform the community about how coastal erosion will be dealt with in their communities.
Coastal erosion management by local councils
In addition to preparing coastal zone management plans, local councils can carry out activities to reduce the impacts of coastal erosion on property and infrastructure. These activities may include dune restoration, beach nourishment and constructing protection works such as seawalls and groynes.
Under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (Infrastructure SEPP), councils need to refer coastal protection works proposals to the NSW Coastal Panel.
Councils may also levy a coastal protection service charge on land where the current or past landowners have voluntarily constructed coastal protection works. This charge covers council costs for maintaining the works and restoring the beach if the works cause erosion and must be levied in accordance with adopted guidelines.
Coastal erosion management by private landowners
Landowners in coastal erosion-prone areas can place sand or sandbags on the beach under strict conditions as temporary coastal protection works to reduce the impact of coastal erosion on their property during small storm events. If the bags cause erosion they are to be removed. Coastal erosion-prone areas are defined through a Code of Practice. The Code of Practice will be updated and available for consultation during 2013.
Private landowners may also lodge a development application for other coastal protection works. Under the Infrastructure SEPP, the NSW Coastal Panel is the consent authority for long-term coastal protection works where the council does not have a coastal zone management plan in place – where a plan is in place, the council is the consent authority.
Coastal management reforms
Stage one of the NSW coastal management reforms commenced on 21 January 2013.
Stage two reforms are currently being developed and consultation will occur in 2013.
Page last updated: 21 January 2013