Development permissible without consent
The Sydney Harbour Catchment Regional Environmental Plan 2005 (SREP 2005) allows a number of activities to be undertaken without development consent on Sydney Harbour.
Although certain activities, such as demolition works and maintenance dredging are permitted without development consent, it is likely that they will require some other form of approval from a ‘determining authority’, for example, a licence or permit. In deciding whether or not to grant such an approval, the relevant determining authority is required to assess the activity under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (Act).
In particular, prior to granting an approval for such an activity, the determining authority is obliged under section 5.5 of the Act (Duty to consider environment impacts) to examine all matters that affect or are likely to affect the environment because of the activity. The authority must take these into account ‘to the fullest extent reasonably possible’. Clause 228 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000 (Regulations) (What factors must be taken into account concerning the impact of an activity on the environment) contains an extensive list of factors that must be taken into account in considering an activity’s likely impacts on the environment.
Roads and Maritime Services requires any Part 5 assessment to be in the form of a Review of Environmental Factors (REF). The REF must give real consideration of the factors outlined in clause 228 of the Regulations and include suitable safeguard and mitigation measures to ensure that the activity will not result in ongoing or permanent adverse impacts on the environment. To achieve this, Roads and Maritime suggests that the REF be prepared by a suitably qualified person experienced in the NSW planning process.