Consultation outcomes

on the Biodiversity Assessment of Deferred Lands

We have reviewed all 935 submissions received in response to the public exhibition of the Conservation Zones Review and Technical Studies.

The main aim of this exhibition was to seek feedback on a draft methodology for the use of Conservation Zones across the Northern Beaches.

You can read the Consultation Report below which summarises the key issues and Council’s response to this feedback. You can also view the redacted submissions received through the public exhibition. The snapshot is also a great overview of the issues raised.

If you have any questions about this study or the consultation outcomes, please call the Strategic and Place Planning Team on 1300 434 434.

Next steps

We anticipate many of the issues raised can be resolved by potential changes to the draft methodology which Council is currently investigating.

Where areas of dispute remain about the accuracy of Council mapping of criteria used in the review, we will engage relevant consultants and contact those landowners who have requested a site inspection.

We are expecting to commence site visits from May 2023.

We are also meeting with the Department of Planning and Environment to discuss the Review, the submissions received, and possible changes. This is important because the Department will have the final say about any proposed zoning changes resulting from the Review.

The outcomes from the Review will help us develop a draft Northern Beaches Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan, which will be presented to Council and exhibited for community feedback in 2024.

We will continue to keep you updated.

Engagement history

We are creating one new planning framework that will guide and manage future development in the Northern Beaches. This is a requirement of the NSW Government.

Our planning framework is made up of a Local Environmental Plan (LEP) which designates land use zones and is used to control development of land in a Local Government Area. The framework also includes a Development Control Plan (DCP) which provides detailed local planning and design guidelines to support the planning controls in the LEP. A new LEP and DCP for the Northern Beaches will provide a clearer, simpler and fairer set of planning rules.

To establish these rules, we have carried out several technical studies to identify the issues and recommend controls for specific environmental characteristics. Outputs from the technical studies have also been used to inform the identification of draft Conservation Zones for inclusion in the future Northern Beaches LEP.

One of those studies is the Biodiversity Assessment of Deferred Lands. This technical study describes and maps biodiversity of the ‘deferred lands’. The deferred lands are the predominantly undeveloped area of land located each side of Wakehurst Parkway (north) and Forestway, bounded by the suburbs of Cromer, Narraweena, Beacon Hill, Oxford Falls, Frenchs Forest and Belrose.

The Biodiversity Assessment of the Deferred Lands includes a detailed review and on ground survey to help identify and map conservation values which will better inform a new LEP and DCP.

Snapshot of the assessment

Northern Beaches Council engaged Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd to assess the ecological value of the ‘deferred lands’, bounded by the suburbs of Cromer, Narraweena, Beacon Hill, Oxford Falls, Frenchs Forest, Belrose and Belrose North, which are subject to Warringah LEP 2000.

Stage 1 of the assessment focused on reviewing and summarising existing ecological information for the deferred lands area using a combination of desktop research and field assessment, and to identify knowledge gaps in the ecological value of the area.

Stage 2 of the assessment comprised field surveys designed to fill gaps in knowledge of ecological values present within the deferred area. Areas of very high, high, moderate, and low conservation significance were determined throughout the deferred lands area using five criteria. The conservation significance criteria are:

  • Threatened species habitat (extent and quality)
  • Threatened ecological communities (extent and quality)
  • Proximity to protected bushland
  • Wildlife corridors and connectivity
  • Riparian land/water sustainability.

Readers should also note that a separate LGA wide study, the ‘Biodiversity Planning Review includes the mapping of Core Habitats and Biodiversity (wildlife) Corridors covering the deferred lands.

Northern Beaches Council (NBC) is reviewing its planning instruments and developing a new, integrated Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) to guide its long-term strategic land-use planning. Detailed information regarding areas of high ecological value or conservation significance within the deferred lands area is critical to prioritise areas of high biodiversity value for conservation during land use planning and to inform future zoning of the deferred lands. The LEP and DCP will include the definition of Conservation zones and new biodiversity planning controls to protect native vegetation, wildlife habitat and connectivity, and threatened entities (threatened species, threatened ecological communities and threatened populations).

The deferred lands area contains significant habitat for threatened flora and fauna and contains patches of national and state listed Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs), totalling over 30 hectares. It also provides a significant buffer to, and an extension of, suitable habitat from the protected Garigal National Park. In future planning for the area, these values must be retained to assist in protecting the biodiversity of the Northern Beaches LGA.

Most of the deferred lands has high (52%) or very high (15%) ecological/conservation value using the five ecological value criteria. Many of the areas of highest ecological value will likely be inaccessible for development, due to the steep and rugged nature of the area as well as bushfire risk. Other areas also contain high or very high ecological values, especially along creeks and in areas with vegetation mapped as TECs. Moderate ecological values (16%) consist primarily of buffers or edges around urbanised locations that generally show moderate levels of disturbance. More accessible areas and those adjacent to current cleared areas still have ecological value as fauna habitat or buffer zones and wildlife corridors. Areas mapped as low ecological value (17%) are generally already cleared, and mostly developed.

To determine the most appropriate zoning for environmental protection of parts of the deferred lands, the assessment shows that many areas of the deferred lands study area have the ecological values that would make them good candidates for a Conservation zone. The deferred lands are surrounded by National Parks (C1 zoned land), but parts of the deferred lands are contiguous with this area and likely to have similar values.

When reading the review, we want to know if you agree with the approach and criteria used in the assessment to identify and map threatened ecological communities, threatened flora and fauna species habitat, and the ecological/conservation values categories for the deferred lands?

Read more about the technical studies that informed the Conservation Zones Review

Our Conservation Zones Review has been informed by a series of technical studies that identify areas with high environmental value and significant environmental hazards.

You can find out more about each of the technical studies by clicking on the boxes below.

Have a question?

Send your query to:

Name Strategic and Place Planning
Phone 1300 434 434 (during business hours)
In writing

Marked 'Biodiversity Assessment of Deferred Lands', Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82 Manly NSW 1655.