The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), previously known as the Wildfire Management Overlay (WMO), applies to land that may be significantly affected by bushfire. A planning permit will generally be required to develop or subdivide land affected by the BMO/WMO.
The process below is designed to assist with making a planning permit application under the BMO/WMO and also provides details of where further information may be obtained.
Step 1: Obtain the zoning of your property and identify if the BMO/WMO applies by generating a free Planning Property Report.
Step 2: If the BMO/WMO applies to your land, identify which of the 3 planning permit application ‘pathways’ is applicable:
||Relevant Planning Scheme Clause Reference
|Pathway 1: applies to single houses in existing settlements (ie. on land zoned General Residential Zone, Low Density Residential Zone, Township Zone or Rural Living Zone.
The application must meet 3 "Approved Measures" for siting, water supply/access and defendable space (i.e. an area around the house where vegetation is reduced/managed to help reduce bushfire risk). Table 1 in Clause 52.47 will also identify the required building construction standard (known as the "Bushfire Attack Level" or "BAL" rating).
|Pathway 2: a more detailed approach for other forms of development (or where Pathway 1 requirements cannot be met).
A range of "Approved Measures" or "Alternative Measures" need to be met relating to landscape, siting/design, water supply access and defendable space. Table 2 or Table 3 in Clause 52.47 will also identify the required building construction standard (known as the "Bushfire Attack Level" or "BAL" rating).
|Pathway 3: applicable to subdivision applications.
A range of "Approved Measures" or "Alternative Measures" need to be met. Lots must be designed to provide sufficient defendable space to allow for a house to be constructed on each lot.
Note that a ‘plain english’ explanation of defendable space, access, water supply, Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) and subdivision standards can be located via the CFA website.
Step 3: Assess the bushfire hazard on and around your land to submit with your planning permit application. Your application will need to include:
- A bushfire hazard site assessment: a plan needs to be prepared documenting the bushfire hazard assessment within 150 metres of the proposed building. Please refer to pages 11-18 of Planning Practice Note 65 (refer to attachment at the bottom of the page) for further guidance, including an example plan on page 18.
- Bushfire hazard landscape assessment (note: this is only required for Pathway 2 and 3 applications): provides information about the bushfire hazard more than 150 metres from the proposed building (i.e. it considers the wider landscape context/environment). Please refer to pages 19-27 of Planning Practice Note 65 for further guidance, including an example plan on page 27.
- Bushfire Management Statement (BMS): all applications must include a BMS which describes how the proposed development responds to the bushfire hazard/landscape assessment and how relevant requirements of Clause 52.47 of the Planning Scheme have been met.
The BMS should clearly document how the proposed development complies with relevant ‘Approved Measures’ or as applicable ‘Alternative Measures’ as outlined in Clause 52.47 (see example below).
Example: Clause 52.47-1 Dwellings in existing settlements (Pathway 1)
| AM 1.1
||A building is sited to ensure the site best achieves the following:
- The maximum separation distance between the building and the bushfire hazard;
- The building is in close proximity to a public road;
- Access can be provided to the building for emergency service vehicles.
|Complies - the site of the proposed house is setback 10 metres from the main access road and will be provided with all-weather access. The site of the proposed dwelling is more than 15 metres from the nearest vegetation on the northern boundary.
|Address all other relevant "Approved Measures"
||Insert relevant requirement from Clause 52.47
|| Insert response/justification.
To assist in preparing a BMS, follow the detailed instructions provided in Planning Practice Note 65 (refer attachment at the bottom of the page - page 28 onwards).
- Plans for endorsement: your application should also include relevant plans, which can be endorsed by Council if a planning permit is issued. Example plans can be obtained from the CFA website.
How do I obtain Further Assistance?
All applications for planning permits under the BMO/WMO must be referred to the CFA for advice. As such, you may wish to contact the Gippsland Regional Office of the CFA on (03) 5149 1000 to discuss your proposal.
It is noted that the Fire Protection Association Australia website has a list of accredited bushfire consultants. Other local consultants/specialists (e.g. planning consultants, private building surveyors) will also be able to assist you.
Further information and guidance about BMO requirements is located on the CFA and DELWP websites. A full copy of the Wellington Planning Scheme and associated BMO clauses and maps can be located on the DELWP website.
Other BMO/WMO Matters
It should be noted that different Clause 52.47 requirements apply to some land in Seaton (shown on planning scheme maps as WMO1), Honeysuckles (WMO2), part of Golden Beach/Paradise Beach (WMO2) and Coongulla (WMO3). Relevant requirements in these areas are outlined in Schedule 1, 2 and 3 of the BMO.
Clause 52.48-5 of the Wellington Planning Scheme provides an exemption to remove vegetation to create defendable space for a dwelling approved under the BMO. However, prior to removing any vegetation it is recommended that you first contact Council’s Environmental Planner on 1300 366 244 to confirm relevant requirements.
Note that if the BMO/WMO does not apply to your property, the land may still be included in a Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) under the Building Regulations. Relevant requirements will instead need to be addressed through the Building Permit Process.