Review of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Scheme


The 10/50 vegetation clearing scheme allows people to clear certain vegetation near their homes to improve protection from bush fires.

The scheme was introduced following the devastating 2013 NSW bush fires, including the fires which destroyed more than 200 homes in the Blue Mountains.

Since its introduction on 1 August 2014, a number of amendments have been made to the scheme.

A Brief History of the Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Scheme

The 10/50 vegetation clearing scheme was introduced through an amendment to the Rural Fires Act 1997 in 2014 .

Under section 100R of the Rural Fires Act 1997, a person whose property is situated in a ‘10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area’ can clear:

  1. any vegetation, including trees or parts of trees, within 10 metres
  2. any vegetation excepting trees or parts of trees, within 50 metres

This can be done without any requirement for assessment or approval provided that clearing is undertaken in accordance with the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice (‘the 10/50 Code’).

The 10/50 Code was prepared by the NSW Rural Fire Service in partnership with the Department of Environment and Planning and the Office of Environment and Heritage, and commenced on the 1st August 2014 following consideration of public submissions.

On the 1st October 2014, the NSW Rural Fire Service announced the planned review of the scheme would be fast-tracked, due to concerns that some landholders were abusing the scheme, by clearing vegetation for purposes other than bush fire protection.

On the 30th September 2014, a number of changes were made to the scheme following consultation with councils, site inspections and community feedback.

The buffer for Category 2 vegetation (typically smaller areas of bushland) was reduced from 350 metres to 150 metres. The NSW RFS online tool was updated to reflect this change to ensure users had access to the latest information.

On the 14th November 2014, consultation closed, and 3,579 submissions were received from stakeholders including individuals, local councils and community groups.

The contributions of all stakeholders have greatly assisted in the development of the review’s recommendations.

On the 28th November 2014, further changes were introduced to mitigate against instances of abuse of 10/50 while the review was conducted.

The buffer for Category 1 and Category 2 vegetation were set at 100 metres and 30 metres respectively.

The NSW RFS online tool was updated to reflect this change to ensure users had access to the latest information.

The final report into the review of the scheme is now available (dated 11th August 2015).


Click the image (above) to download the report.

Click HERE to visit the NSW RFS page titled: 10/50 vegetation clearing.

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