Interim consent arrangements
41. Upon the commencement of this policy the federation (or relevant federation club) will be given a one-year interim written consent to hang glide and paraglide at those sites which conform with this policy. This written consent will effectively authorise these sites for the interim period, subject to the consent conditions. A consent will be required for each individual hang gliding site. See Attachment B: Template for consents (PDF 146KB).
42. The Park Authority may issue one-year interim written consents for a maximum total of three years.
43. Renewal of consent after this interim period will be conditional upon the completion of a review of environmental factors (REF) for each authorised hang gliding site within parks.
Subsequent consent arrangements
44. Upon the expiration of the federation's interim consent for each site (and subject to the conditions placed on the renewal of that consent), the Park Authority may grant the federation (or federation club) a three-year written consent for each site under clause 21 of the NPW Regulation for members of the federation to hang-glide and paraglide at these authorised sites (see template at Attachment B (PDF 146KB)).
45. Subsequent renewal of a three-year consent will be subject to conditions outlined in the policy, including an annual site inspection of each hang gliding site to assess impacts (if any) associated with the use of the site.
General consent conditions
46. In granting a consent to the federation, general conditions that the Park Authority may impose upon the Federation include (but are not limited to):
- hang-gliders and paragliders are to obey lawful directions of Park Authority staff
- federation clubs are to notify the Park Authority when they intend to use a site where use is infrequent or a special event is scheduled
- no modification of the environment, permanent or temporary, will be permitted without Park Authority approval
- operators are responsible for removing their rubbish and litter
- NPWS site consent may be withdrawn if pilots do not conduct themselves in accordance with
Civil Aviation Safety Authority's regulations and the Federation's Operations Manual.
Site assessment - existing sites review of environmental factors (REF)
47. A review of environmental factors (use standard NPWS REF) will be conducted for each authorised site within the period of the interim consent (maximum three years). The purpose of this review of environmental factors is to identify any impacts resulting from the activity, and determine whether a subsequent consent will be given at each site.
48. Generally, the review of environmental factors will be prepared by the Park Authority with assistance from the relevant hang-gliding clubs. A fee for staff time may be charged by the Park Authority where substantial staff time and resources are required.
49. Where consultants are required for specific work or other external costs are evident, these will be met by the relevant hang-gliding club.
50. Any required cost-sharing arrangements will be agreed to prior to the preparation of the review of environmental factors by the Park Authority.
51. The review of environmental factors must analyse the ecological, cultural and social impacts and risks associated with hang-gliding and paragliding activities.
52. Possible impacts of hang-gliding and paragliding include:
- the maintenance of clearings for set-up, launching and landing
- unauthorised clearing of vegetation
- trampling of vegetation and other damage to vegetation that is associated with set-up, launch, landing and pack-up sites
- habitat disturbance (e.g. nesting birds etc.)
- creation of tracks to and from set-up, launch and landing sites
- compaction or erosion of soil
- construction and maintenance of launch platforms
- intrusion on the visual amenity of a park
- conflicts with other park users
- parking congestion
- the risks and environmental impacts associated with rescuing accident victims
- disturbance to culturally significant areas
Site assessment - new sites/upgrade works
53. Any proposed new hang-gliding site within a park, or significant alterations to an existing site, will require the preparation of a review of environmental factors by the proponent prior to granting consent to carry out such works.
54. All construction works for the purpose of hang gliding and paragliding must comply with the requirements (including building standards and codes) established in the NPWS 'Construction Assessment and Approvals Procedure'.
55. Launch structures are to be certified by an engineer and include a maintenance schedule. The federation will be responsible for arranging this, including costs incurred.
Important elements for review of environmental factors of hang-gliding sites
56. When preparing a review of environmental factors for a hang gliding site, as well as the usual information required in the review of environmental factors, the following elements must be included:
- Site assessment (REF Section 4. The Existing Environment).
- Latitude: the latitude of the site read off a topographical map or Geographic Positioning Unit. This information may be required during rescues.
- Longitude: the longitude of the site read off a topographical map or Geographic Positioning Unit. This information may be required during rescues.
- Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid Reference: The location of the site on the relevant 1:25000 topographical map. Provide the map name, serial number and six-digit positioning code.
- Height of launch above sea mean level: the height above sea level can be read off a topographical map or a Geographic Positioning Unit.
- Launch Direction: Direction of the launch to the nearest thirty (30) degrees from magnetic north.
- Launch Description: describe the type of mechanism used by the pilots to become airborne. Generally there are three different mechanisms: grass run, slot take-off, or platform launch. Detail the approximate length, width and height of the structure and indicate any other infrastructure, such as small walls or extended foundations that assist in the launch.
- Predominant seasonal wind direction: indicate the predominant wind direction for the seasons of the year and the most suitable period of the year for hang-gliding from this site. Indicate whether a site may only be used for a short period throughout the year when the wind conditions match the site conditions. An alternative site may offer a longer period of hang-gliding opportunities. This must be considered in the final determination of the site.
- Level of hang-gliding: Is the site currently used for non-commercial, commercial, novice, intermediate, advanced, competition, tandem, teaching, or paragliding, etc.?
- Years the site has been in use: total amount of years including pre NPWS estate that the site has been used for hang gliding activities. The public use of long-term facilities must be appreciated in granting consent for the use of the site.
- Available Infrastructure of the site (REF Section 4. The Existing Environment)
- Describe the vehicle access to the site: determine if the vehicle access to the site is via a public road and what the restrictions are for travelling on this road. Should access be granted in all weather conditions at all times throughout the year to all sizes of vehicles (2WD, 4WD, minibuses and larger buses), or should there be some restrictions due to weather conditions (black frost, fire seasons), to vehicle size and times of year?
- Is there an area set aside for non-participating (viewing) public? How many people can this area safely accommodate and are infrastructure improvements required? Is there an adequate path past the set-up site for the public to walk or do the public have to walk through the set-up site to the viewing area?
- Approved landing and pick-up sites: how many landing sites are available? How many have been approved? Are the landing sites visible? Is there a requirement for mapping the area? Are there emergency landing sites (i.e. helicopter rescue sites)?
- Size of set-up area: measure in both metres squared (square metres) and the number of gliders this area can accommodate at a single point in time. This information is necessary for the safety of the pilots and the viewing public. Site capacity should be defined by the safe number of hang-gliders in the air at any one time.
- Describe the user/public access from the unloading area to the set-up area: describe the public and user access to the set-up area from the unloading and parking zones. Is there a requirement for facility upgrade and what upgrade would be required? Is there evidence of erosion, exposed plant roots, overgrowth of vegetation and trampling on the access? What is the requirement for trimming of vegetation?
- Sketch/Photo: inclusion of a hang-gliding site sketch or photo in the review of environmental factors. This is done to indicate flight-area, clean-air and flight path. Photo points can be used to define the area for each site. This assessment may need to be done in consultation with the relevant club of the federation.
Site management plan (SMP)
57. A site management plan will be prepared and implemented for each hang gliding site by the Park Authority in consultation with the relevant federation club, in accordance with the hang-gliding site management plan guidelines.
58. Relevant information assessed by the review of environmental factors is to form the basis of the site management plan.
59. A site management plan will conform with the provisions of the plan of management and will address, but not be limited to, the following issues:
- approved access routes
- approved launch sites and infrastructure
- approved landing and pack-up sites
- provisions for unloading and parking of vehicles
- site capacity limitations
- job safety analysis
- general climatic/wind conditions for use
- approved signage
- approved site maintenance measures and responsibilities
- site boundaries and definition
- measures to ensure visitor safety
- measures to monitor and ameliorate impacts
- measures for record keeping
- reporting of accidents (WHS guidelines)
- procedures for contacting Emergency Services in case of accident
Unloading and parking of vehicles
60. Adequate unloading zone and parking space provisions for vehicles will be required at each hang-gliding site, based on average use rates.
61. If provisions for unloading and parking vehicles is inadequate, additional unloading zones and parking spaces may be constructed where necessary at the discretion of the Park Authority, as detailed in the site management plan. This must be consistent with the provisions of a plan of management. Access
62. An access track or route from the unloading zone to the set-up area should be provided at each hang-gliding site. If one is not currently in place, then it should be established by the Park Authority, or as detailed in the site management plan.
63. A standardised gate should be provided across the access track to each hang-gliding site where necessary. If a gate is not currently provided, and is indicated as necessary in the site management plan, the Park Authority will erect a standardised gate at some point along the access track. Should a gate not be feasible along the access track prior to the set-up area, the gate will be placed before or on the launch site/area.
64. Access arrangements will be detailed in the site management plan, including whether a gate is practical and/or necessary, and the appropriate location. The NPWS may request that expenses incurred by the Park Authority be paid for by the relevant federation club, on a cost recovery basis.
Launch sites and set-up area
65. Launch sites (structures etc.) and set-up area at each site should be maintained in an adequate condition to ensure the safety of the activity.
66. Structures for launching will be provided and maintained by the federation club with the consent of the Park Authority.
67. Grassed areas (including grassed runs and set-up areas) will be maintained by the Park Authority, or as determined in the site management plan.
68. The dimensions and management of the launch site and set-up area at each site will be detailed in the site management plan.
69. Launch structures that are determined as unsafe in the review of environmental factors must be either dismantled and removed or upgraded before any further use is made of the structure.
70. Launch sites and set-up areas should be adequately defined so as not to interfere with other park users and to ensure visitor safety.
71. It is the responsibility of the federation to supply information on the location of the approved landing sites (and emergency landing sites) to the pilots prior to launch.
72. Precise location and consent arrangements of each landing site (and emergency landing site) will be detailed in the site management plan.
73. For all landing sites (or emergency landing sites) located off-park, the Federation must provide written evidence of the agreement between a landowner/managing authority and the Federation for approved landing and pack-up sites on their land. Such written evidence may be written permission from the landowner/managing authority, or in the case of verbal agreements, may be a document prepared by the Federation which provides assurance that this agreement has been formalised. Such documents must include the name of the landowner/managing authority providing the permission, as well as the location of the land concerned.
74. Should a neighbouring landowner who provides hang gliding landing sites (or emergency landing sites), or clears and maintains vegetation below a launch site, withdraw their consent, the Park Authority reserves the right to close the hang gliding site temporarily or until alternate arrangements are put in place.
Site capacity and climatic limitations
75. Site capacity and climatic limitations to ensure the safety of pilots and the general public for each hang-gliding site will be detailed in the site management plan, and may include the following considerations:
- number of pilots permitted in the air at any one time
- number of participants permitted in the set-up area at any one time, dependent on size dimensions
- restrictions on the number of people (other than participants) allowed in the set-up area at any one time.
76. Signage requirements and location will be detailed in the site management plan for each site.
77. The following signage requirements may be included at each site (as detailed in the site management plan):
- unloading zone (e.g. 'hang glider unloading zone only, no parking, stopping permitted up to 15 minutes')
- access track/access gate to site - safety and warning advice (e.g. DANGER: only authorised access permitted beyond this point')
- hang-gliding launch site - name of site, NPWS logo, federation logo, warning/safety advice, federation site rating.
78. The federation will be responsible for the design (in consultation with the Park Authority), construction and maintenance of this signage, unless otherwise stated in the site management plan.
79. Approved temporary signs may be used where the site is rarely used.
80. Approved site maintenance measures and responsibilities will be detailed in the site management plan and include:
- maintenance of grassed areas by brush cutter or mowing, and rehabilitation of any damaged areas
- application of appropriate paint and rust protection and any repairs to launch structures, signage and access gates
- maintenance of access track - rehabilitating eroded areas, removal of overgrowth etc.
- trimming of vegetation (as approved in accordance with clause 17 of the regulation).
81. Generally, it will be the responsibility of the federation (or relevant federation club) after attaining consent from the Park Authority to maintain the hang gliding launch structures, signage and other hang-gliding specific infrastructure. This will be in accordance with the site management plan.
82. Generally, it will be the responsibility of the Park Authority to maintain ancillary (park management) infrastructure such as grassed areas, access tracks, fences and gates. This will be in accordance with the site management plan.
83. Responsibility for site maintenance may vary between sites, as negotiated between the federation club and the Park Authority, and site maintenance arrangements will be detailed in the site management plan.
Alternative usage of hang-gliding sites
84. When the site is in use by hang-gliders and paragliders, pilots must act responsibly towards the viewing public and other park users to minimise their interference with the hang-gliding site.
85. Alternative usage of the site must be subject to public safety considerations and sustainability of impacts to the site.
Keeping of records
86. Commercial operators are required to duly enter and keep in suitable books and registers to be kept for that purpose, true particulars and complete accounts relating to the licensed activity. Such books and registers shall be at all times open to inspection by NPWS. Records should include, but not be limited to:
- dates of flights
- names and contact details of all persons participating in the activity
- names of instructors
- location of flights
- any incidents which occur in the course of such activity.
87. Commercial operators are required to provide an activity report on the use of the site to the Park Authority, at an appropriate interval (according to the level site use) as determined in the site management plan. Generally a month would be an appropriate interval. Activity reports will include information on the following:
- dates, location and number of flights
- names of clients, instructors and pilots (may only be necessary for commercial operations)
- any activity inconsistent with the plan of management or site management plan
- requirements for vegetation removal/trimming
- damage to infrastructure, including through vandalism
- apparent environmental and ecological damage, including erosion or compaction, exposed roots, weed invasion, litter etc.
88. Reporting procedure for commercial operators will be consistent with the Interim Commercial Recreation and Tourism Policy.
89. Reporting on accidents will be done at the time of the accident or as near after as possible. Reporting on accidents will be in accordance with the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia Operations Manual, and finalised through the General Manager of the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia.
90. The following fee structure will apply to commercial hang-gliding and paragliding activities:
- licence application fee
- annual licence fee
- per client fee
- concessional fee for school groups.
91. The fees will be consistent with the Commercial Recreational Activities policy.
92. The database should include the following information:
- site name
- park category, region, branch
- coordinates, height of launch, wind direction
- type of consent (interim, permanent, covered in the plan of management)
- NPWS and federation contact officers
- any further information specified in the site management plan.