Local Council

Environmental planning: LEP's and SEPP's explained


In the environmental planning world we often refer to LEP’s and SEPP’s but what are they and how do they work?


Local Environmental Plans or LEP’s are a type of Environmental Planning Instrument.  LEP’s apply to local Councils and provide a framework for the way land can be used.  This is done by allocating parcels of land ‘zones’ for example: R1 General Residential and RU1 Rural Landscape.  Each zone is made up of objectives which sets out the principal purpose of the land; what development is permissible on the land with consent, what development is permissible on the land without consent and what development is prohibited.


State Environmental Planning Policies or SEPP’s are environmental planning instruments that deal with matters of State or Regional environmental planning significance.  The effect of a SEPP is that it can override a LEP and can prohibit certain types of development or can allow development in a certain zone.  For example, a development may be prohibited in a zone but if it achieves an aim of the SEPP it may be allowed.

An example is State Environmental Planning Policy No 1 or SEPP1 which allows an objection to be made against development standards contained in an Environmental Planning Instrument such as a LEP.  If Council is satisfied that an objection is well founded, it may grant consent to the development even though the proposal does not comply with the relevant standards.

When wanting to develop on your land the first thing that you need to consider is the local government areas LEP, look at the zoning and the objectives and permissibility of the zone to see if the proposed development is permissible.  Depending on the development you then need to look at the SEPP’s to see if there is a SEPP that applies to the development.

Planning law is quite complex. To ensure that you get the right advice you need an expert in this area.  At Coutts Mallik Rees we have two accredited specialists in Local Government and Planning Law that can provide you with expert advice.

For any further advice or legal assistance on this issue, please contact us at Coutts on 1300 268 887

New laws for swimming pool ownership

As of 29 October this year, if you are the owner of a swimming pool, you will need to register it with your local council. We strongly advise that if this applies to you, you register it sooner rather than later, to avoid penalty.  Local councils are implementing a rigorous inspection program to find pool owners that haven’t met their legal obligations.

About the swimming pool register

There is definitely good reason to introduce this register. According to the NSW Government, drowning is one of the major causes of accidental death amongst very young children - who are not old enough to handle falling into water. There are currently over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, therefore these measures will ensure that many lives are saved.

How to register your swimming pool

Before applying for registration, you will need to have the following information handy:

  • Full address of the swimming pool
  • Property type
  • Surrounding land size
  • When the pool (or spa) was built
  • If the pool barrier has been substantially modified or rebuilt - when that took place.

What this means for home owners

As of 29 April 2014, a certificate of compliance must be attached to the contract if you are selling or buying a property with a pool in NSW. Ensure your Sydney conveyancer looks after this for you to keep you on the right side of the law.  If you need conveyancing advice, do not hesitate to email us at info@couttslegal.com.au