Lockhart Shire nestles in the heart of the Riverina and is one of it's most productive agricultural and pastoral areas.
Protection of Roadside Vegetation
The Lockhart Shire Council would like to remind all landholders that it is an offence to modify the vegetation of the local roadsides and reserves without approval. This includes all forms of modification such as chemical application, slashing, clearing, grazing or cultivation.
Modification results in: loss of local native vegetation; reduction of ground cover, resulting in establishment and spread of weeds; loss of soil moisture through ground exposure; and loss of habitat of local fauna, including beneficial insect predators, and crop pollinators.
Roadside reserves are protected by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the Native Vegetation Act 2003. The vegetation of the roadsides is significant in being the last remnant source of native flora, providing a vital food source and habitat for native fauna, and provides corridors for fauna movement. Ecological communities are present within the shire, as well as threatened species. Some species are only present on one road, and may exist only in small numbers.
Chemical application is the greatest form of modification and it is illegal to apply chemicals to someone else’s land, intentional or accidental. Offenders may be reported to the NSW Environment Protection Authority - resulting in investigation, loss of chemical user accreditation, and/or prosecution. Councils are restricted in the types of pesticides that can be applied to the roadside and public places, whereas many more pesticides are registered for use on private agricultural land. Repeated chemical application also increases the potential for the development of chemical resistance.
Applying chemicals to the roadside may also open oneself to possible litigation; should travelling stock move through the area of roadside that a private landholder has sprayed, and residue be found in the meat at slaughter.
Should any modification result in the loss of significant vegetation, reports could also be made to the Office of Environment and Heritage for investigation. The majority of intact remnant vegetation occurs on rural roads, yet the outskirts of some local towns also contain significant vegetation communities, as well as reserves and forests within towns.
If landholders are at all concerned with the fire risk associated with the roadside vegetation or the possible source of weeds, landholders are encouraged to contact Lockhart Shire Council staff for assistance as well as develop appropriate mechanisms within their property.
Lockhart Shire Council is dedicated to implementing safe practices including spraying the roadside shoulders to reduce the chance of ignition from vehicles pulling off the road, and slashing areas at intersections to increase sight distance of traffic.
For further information please contact Council’s Environmental Officer on (02) 6920 5305.
To provide information to rural landholders, village residents and visitors to the Shire, Council has created the a link to the following guideline regarding stubble burning activities, which are generally carried out during Autumn of each year.
This guideline focuses on the regulation and preferred management of stubble burning and the roles and responsibilities of local government officers, other local authorities and the owners or managers of agricultural land.
There are numerous variable to consider when burning stubble (smoke, fire breaks, wind and weather, fuel loading, neighbours), and further advice may be sought from the NSW EPA, or the NSW RFS.
Landholders must always consult with their local RFS prior to burning stubble, to ensure that all appropriate approvals and considerations have been met and sought. Consultation with adjoining landholders is also recommended.
To assist with regards to:
- Ensuring that changes of land use, or new development proposals, will not increase the risk to human health or the environment;
- Avoiding inappropriate restrictions on land use; and
- Providing information to support decision making and to inform the community;
Council, as part of a regional initiative with REROC, have endorsed a guiding document for the management of contaminated lands. To read a copy of the document, follow this link.