10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

New Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

Update 12 August 2015

On 12 August 2015 the NSW Government announced further changes to the 10/50 legislation, effective from that date. The changes tighten the scheme and provide better environmental protection.
It maintains a reduced clearing entitlement area which will exclude all category 2 vegetation from the 10/50 scheme. The latest changes also prevent clearing of vegetation on land that has development consent conditions attached.

The legislation now excludes clearing on land that contains:

  • critically endangered plants, critical habitats, all mangroves and saltmarshes
  • critically endangered ecological communities such as Sydney Blue Gum High Forest which is found across Ku-ring-gai
  • Koala habitats, Aboriginal places, and local heritage trees

Clearing on land is also excluded that is contrary to the conditions of development consent or a court-ordered approval.

Residents must check if 10/50 eligibility still applies to their property by visiting the RFS website before undertaking vegetation clearing.  Please note it is an offence to apply for any work conducted contrary to the 10/50 legislation and fines apply.

What is 10/50? 

This law provides owners of properties, within a nominated Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, to remove trees and other vegetation within certain distances of their homes without the need to seek any formal approval.
The new 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Law is a State Government initiative in conjunction with the NSW Rural Fire Service and is not an initiative or policy of Ku-ring-gai Council.

Council will be unable to provide advice on the Code or any enquiries in relation to the mapping provided under the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code entitlement area.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has provided an online tool where you can find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area.

The new laws are supported by the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice 
For further information on the 10/50 rule please contact the NSW Rural Fire Service or direct enquiries to 10.50@rfs.nsw.gov.au

Clarification on protected vegetation

Vegetation clearing undertaken as a result of 10/50 does not allow you to clear vegetation that is protected by the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Commonwealth protected species and vegetation communities occur in Ku-ring-gai and include the Endangered Ecological Communities of Blue Gum High Forest and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest.

Further information on these communities as identified under the EPBC Act is available online:
Blue Gum High Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion

Ku-ring-gai also contains vegetation communities listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Whilst these communities are not protected under the 10/50 Code of Practice, they significantly add to the ecological, social and historic richness of our LGA Ku-ring-gai.

Read more about vegetation communities listed under state or federal legislation found within Ku-ring-gai.

What other actions is Council undertaking?

Council and other member agencies of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Bush Fire Management Committee continue to undertake strategic bushfire mitigation actions that are documented in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Bush Fire Risk Management Plan. This plan guides an annual works program of multi-agency fuel reduction activities including burns, asset protection zone works, fire trail maintenance and community engagement. These works are prioritised and funded based on risk exposure. Other activities outside the scope of the Bush Fire Risk Management will not be undertaken at the expense of prior commitments.
View the current Bush Fire Risk Management Plan

View current hazard reduction burns proposed for the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai area.

Is clearing trees and vegetation sufficient to protect my property in Ku-ring-gai?

  • Reducing the amount of vegetation that can act as fuel only deals with one aspect of being prepared for bushfires.
  • In Ku-ring-gai there are many other risk factors for bushfire such as: steep land, your house design and building materials, flammable materials close to your house. It is important to remember that 85% of homes are lost in bushfires due to blown embers
  • Clearing will assist in creating defendable space but may not save your home especially in extreme or catastrophic conditions. The safest option is always to leave early
  • Completing a bushfire survival plan, maintaining your property and considering how to improve the resilience of your buildings are all important steps to improve safety for the people living in your home and protecting your property
  • Remember that some vegetation types don’t burn as readily as others and can form an ember screen
  • If you are unsure about whether your trees and garden landscaping are posing a bush fire risk please seek expert advice from Council 9424 0000 or the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Rural Fire Service 9883 2000 before undertaking any clearing.