South Australian growers will no longer be required to seek local council planning consent for orchard netting after the State Government agreed to grant an exemption from planning requirements.
Apple & Pear Growers Association of SA (APGASA) put a submission into the Simplify Regulation Unitof the South Australian Government last year calling for horticultural netting to be exempt from development plan consent, in line with regulations that are in place in Victoria.
Since then, the Simplify Regulation Unit has been working with Apple & Pear Growers Association of SA and Cherry Growers SA to understand the challenges faced with the current planning system for netting.
The outcome of this was that on the 13 February, a variation to the planning regulations was introduced that horticultural netting does not require development plan consent.
This will come into operation on 8 April 2018.
The exemption contains a number of conditions, and if these conditions are not met, development consent will still be required.
However, the conditions, which relate to height, colour of side walls, access for emergency services, and guidelines relating to dwellings on adjoining properties, native vegetation, water courses and distance to boundaries are fairly practical and ensure that there is not a “free for all” in netting types and construction.
Provisions of the Building Rules will still need to be met. The exemptions will mean that, provided conditions are met, installation can proceed without public notification or the right for neighbours to make representations to council.
These exemptions will apply across all council areas of South Australia where horticulture is present.
Further information will be provided over the coming weeks. APGASA will also be working with the South Australian government on some information packages to help inform the community on why netting is important for horticulture production.
Given the aesthetic impact on the landscape, growers and netting companies are also encouraged to take this aspect into account with their designs, while still meeting the practical requirements for the netting construction. For example, can a darker colour net be used over headlands? Can a grey net provide the same benefits as a straight white net?
Further information – Susie Green, CEO, APGASA, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8389 8453.
This article first appeared in the APGASA publication Around the Orchard Vol. 10 No. 1 February 201