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Open Burn Policy

Lithgow Council has developed a new Policy to manage open burning in a manner that endeavours to minimise health and environmental impacts. Under the new policy, approval may be sought from Council for open burning of vegetation. In some areas of the Lithgow Local Government Area, it is prohibited to burn in the open without approval. There are some exceptions to the burning controls and Council should be contacted in this regard.

The approval regime is aimed at vegetation generated on a property where disposal at a waste facility is not viable. Approval will not be granted to burn general rubbish or materials such as coated wires, tyres, paint containers, treated timbers or any material that may cause an explosion. You may be able to seek approval for the burning of vegetation in the open, such as dry dead branches if that vegetation has grown on the same property.

Burning is allowed without the need for approval on a property greater than 4,000 m² (1 Acer) on land zoned within the following areas identified under Council’s Local Environmental Plan 2014;

  • RU1 –  Primary Production
  • RU2 – Rural Landscape
  • RU5 – Village
  • R5 –    Rural Residential

To identify your property Zoning visit NSW Government Planning Viewer https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/ Agree to the Terms & Conditions, enter your property address then tick “Land Zoning” on the list down the left hand side.

Even if approval is not required notice must be provided to Rural Fire Service (RFS), all adjoining landholders/occupiers and burning must be in accordance with RFS Standards for Pile Burning. Burning must only be dead and dry vegetation in the cause of carrying out agricultural operations on which the vegetation has grown.

Where your property does not fall into the above Land Zoning you are required to get written permission to burn from Lithgow City Council prior to contacting the relevant fire authority. Council requires a request for permission to burn in application to be submitted by the owner of the property where the burning is to be conducted. Councils Application for approval to pile burn is available below or from Council’s Customer Service.

Lithgow City Council Officer will need to attend the property so please provide your daytime contact number and any access instructions where necessary. Permission is normally granted within several days. However, customers should note that up to fourteen days should be allowed for the permission to be granted or refused.

In Rural Fire Service (RFS) areas the bush fire season runs from 1st October to 31st March each year unless declared earlier or extended. If you live in a Rural Fire Service Area and are intending to burn during the fire season, a fire safety permit is required from your local Rural Fire Brigade permit-issuing officer, at least (48) forty-eight hours before the time and date the proposed burn takes place. To apply for a permit from the Rural Fire Service contact the RFS Permit Issuing Line on (02) 6353 1862.

Outside of the bush fire season, written or oral notice is to be given to the Lithgow Rural Fire Service & adjoining land owners/occupiers at least (24) twenty-four hours prior to the time and date of the proposed burn. Such notice must specify location, purpose, period and time the proposed fire is to be lit.

Please note that all burning is expected to be undertaken in compliance with the following four documents:

  • Submit completed  Application Form to Lithgow City Council 14 days prior to proposed burn,
  • Approval to conduct Pile Burn under POEO (Clean Air) Regulation 2010, issued by Council following approval,
  • Rural Fire Service “Pile Burning Standards” 

Note that on-the-spot fines of $500.00 for an individual and $1000 for a corporation may be issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act for the following offences:

  • Burning otherwise than to prevent/ minimise air pollution
  • Burn a prohibited article
  • Burn without an approval or not in accordance with an approval

In the event of a prosecution, the maximum penalty is $5,500 for an individual and $11,000 for a corporation.

Pile burning of dry and dead vegetation should not be seen as the best method for disposing of dry and dead vegetation. Alternative methods of disposal such as re-use, recycling, composting, disposal through Council’s waste service, kerbside collection service or waste management facility, should be thoroughly investigated and are the preferred disposal methods.