Planning in NSW is largely governed by the following two pieces of legislation:
- Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (or “the EP&A Act”), and the
- Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (or “the EP&A Regulation”).
While the Act and the Regulation provide the overarching structure for planning in NSW, there are a number of other statutory documents that support that structure.
The two most commonly used are State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs).
There are approximately 66 State policies and that outline the NSW Government’s approach to dealing with planning issues specific to the State and people of NSW. State policies are made by the Governor on the recommendations of the Minister for Planning and updated as required.
Each local government area has a LEP to guide development and protect natural resources such as waterways and heritage within local government areas. LEPs are prepared by councils, in consultation with their community and approved by the Minister for Planning (or their delegate).
Although the rules and guidelines for land use within council areas are dictated to some degree by State Environmental Planning Policies, councils can administer more specific rules about land use through their Local Environmental Plans, and can provide additional guidance in their development control plans (DCPs).