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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

NSW Coastline Management Manual

New South Wales Government
September 1990

ISBN 0730575063

Appendix D: Hazard Management Options

Appendix D4 - Development Control Options


The purpose of development control conditions is to reduce the damage potential to new developments and redevelopments by the imposition of development, design and construction conditions. Such conditions are usually imposed on a site specific, development specific and hazard specific basis. Consequently, these controls are generally considerably more detailed and localized than those measures which might be contained in environmental plans.


Councils can exert site specific development controls through the development application and building application procedures. Such controls can be an effective way of ensuring that the damage potential of new developments and redevelopments is consistent with the hazard exposure of the site.

Under an LEP, a development application is required for consent uses; a building application is required for all developments. Thus the consent process provides council with a means of ensuring that the developer is aware of necessary development conditions at the initial design stage of the project.


Buildings and developments in the coastal zone are subject to the usual controls and regulations of standard building codes. However, it is often desirable to impose additional development control conditions to reflect the special nature of coastline hazards. Such conditions may include the following:


When considering development applications and imposing development conditions, councils must have regard to matters set out in Section 90 of the EPA Act. Of particular relevance are the following subsections:

 s.90(1)(b) the impact of the development on the environment and whether harm to the environment is likely to be caused, and means that may be employed to protect the environment or to mitigate that harm;
 s.90(1)(c) the effect of the development on the landscape or scenic quality of the locality;
 s.90(1)(d) the social and economic effects of the development in the locality;
 s.90(1)(f) the size and shape of the land to which the development relates, the siting of any particular buildings or works thereon and the area to be occupied by the development;
 s.90(1)(g) whether the land to which the development application relates is suitable for that development by reason of its being, or being likely to be, subject to flooding, tidal inundation, subsidence, slip or bushfire or any other risk;
 s.90(1)(h) the relationship of the development to developments on adjoining land or on other land in the locality;
 s.90(1)(m) whether adequate provision has been made for the landscaping of the land to which the development application relates and whether any trees or other vegetation on the land should be preserved;
 s.90(1)(mi) whether that development is likely to cause soil erosion;
 s.90(l)(n) any representations made by a public authority in relation to that development application, or to the development of the area, and the rights and powers of that public authority; and
 s.90(1)(r) the public interest.

Note that Section 90(1)(g) is general in nature and encompasses coastline hazards as "any other risk".

In some cases the relevant planning instrument may allow certain types of developments without specific council consent. In these cases a Building Application must be lodged and dealt with as provided under Part XI of the Local Government Act. Section 313 sets out the matters which can be considered in granting consent and is wide enough to allow the imposition of whatever conditions are required to cater for coastline hazards.


A number of financial measures can be used to manage coastline hazards. Although most of these measures are in use in overseas countries, many have not yet been implemented in Australia. Financial measures include:


Consider a specific application of development controls to a hazardous area of the New South Wales coastline, namely the way in which Warringah Shire Council implements development controls for the coastal bluff and sandy beach areas of its coastline.

According to Appendix C7, the major potential hazards of bluff coastlines are slope instability problems, whereas all 7 coastline hazards may be of significance to sandy beaches.

Prior to determining these development conditions, Warringah Shire Council had a Coastal Process Study undertaken to identify the type, nature and extent of hazards. The following development application conditions are specific to coastline hazards in Warringah and to the means of management adopted by council. They serve as an example of what is currently being done by one coastal council, rather than as a "template" for the New South Wales coast in general.

Building Applications for Bluff Areas

As part of the Building Application for developments in designated coastal bluff areas, Warringah Shire Council requires a geotechnical report from a suitably qualified and experienced engineer. The report is to address the following issues:

1. The existing stability of:
  (a) the individual allotment; and
(b) the locality.
2. The effect of the proposal on the stability of:
  (a) the property subject to the application;
(b) adjoining properties; and
(c) the bluff or locality in general.
3. The effects of existing and proposed stormwater and groundwater drainage system on site and area stability.

Building Applications for Beach Areas

For developments in designated risk areas of the coastline, Warringah Shire Council requires a coastal engineer's report to be submitted to council before a building application will be considered. This report should address the following matters:

1. General stability of the site and locality in respect of the following processes:
(a) long term trends in sand transport and beach movements;
(b) sea level rise, both historic and predicted as a result of the Greenhouse Effect; and
(c) the effect of the proposal on adjacent structures.
2. The stability of the site and locality in a severe storm event. The following factors are to be taken into account:
(a) oceanic inundation as a result of elevated sea levels, wave setup and runup;
(b) beach scour levels and dune scarp stability; and
(c) the effect of the proposal on adjacent structures.