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10/50 Clearing Code

10/50 Clearing Code of Practice

On 1 August 2014 the NSW Government announced the commencement of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing legislation and Code of Practice (the 10/50 Code), in accordance with section 100Q of the Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Bill 2014. This allowed trees to be removed without Council approval within a 10 metre proximity to a home and other vegetation within a 50 metre radius when in a designated fire threat area. 


There has been widespread misuse of this legislation to destroy hundreds of trees across Ku-ring-gai and thousands across Sydney. Many historic and significant trees have been felled in areas that are not seem as bushfire prone areas. These have often been cleared to to allow for further development.


Due to significant public concerns raised regarding the application of the 10/50 Code a review of the 10/50 legislation, Code of Practice and Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Areas has been brought forward. 


In late November 2016, the Baird government tightened the regulation. Homes deemed to be near vegetation deemed to be category-one bushland will only be allowed to apply the 10/50 rules if they are within 100 metres of that bushland, rather than 350 metres previously. Residents near category-two bushland will be able to clear trees and vegetation under the 10/50 rules only if they live within 30 metres of the bush, compared with 150 metres under the previous setting. 


The confusion of rules and how they applied would likely continue. It would have been more reasonable to halt the permit-free clearing until the review of the policy by the Rural Fire Service and the Department of Planning and Environment had been completed.


The Report and recommendations of the NSW Rural Fire Service is available here: Review-of-the-1050-Vegetation-Clearing-Entitlement-Scheme-Report