The Rural Fire Service has told Blue Mountains City Council that they have no evidence that the controversial 10/50 tree clearing laws materially reduce the bush fire risk in the region. In noting this advice the Council has unanimously passed a mayoral minute raising serious questions about the impact of 10/50 on the Blue Mountains World Heritage status and the high number of complaints received by residents due to the large scale clearing under the 10/50 code.
The 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice commenced in August 2014, introduced by the Liberal Government purportedly to improve bushfire safety despite no credible scientific evidence it would make homes safer from fires.
The ineffectiveness of the Code is highlighted in the minute by including a summary of the advice council had received from the RFS, that they are:
Not in a position to state that application of 10/50 clearing would substantially reduce bush fire risks faced by landowners and that they could not verify that had 10/50 been in place prior to the October 2013 bush fires, there would have been a material difference in the property loss suffered by our community.
(As reported today in the Sydney Morning Herald)
The Greens call for an immediate moratorium and repeal of 10/50.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said:
“The damaging October 2013 bush fires in the Blue Mountains were used by the government to push through the controversial 10/50 clearing laws.
“This resolution from Blue Mountains City Council just proves how misguided and ineffective the 10/50 laws are.
“The big sell for these laws was bushfire protection, but the Rural Fire Service has even admitted that there is no evidence that they would have made any difference to the devastating Blue Mountains bush fires in 2013.
“As the Greens said when the laws were introduced to Parliament, the 10/50 code has nothing to do with bushfire protection and everything to do with pandering to property owners.
“There is absolutely no credible evidence that chopping mature trees up to one hundred metres from bushfire prone land will reduce the likelihood of houses being lost to ember attacks.
“The 10/50 code is just one part of the Coalition’s ideological attack on the environment driven by its aggressive assertion of the right of property owners to do whatever they like on their land regardless of the impact.
“Since the 10/50 laws have been in place the chainsaws have literally not stopped across urban and regional NSW,” Mr Shoebridge said.