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Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)

Updates to the Bushfire Management Overlay maps

The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) is a planning control applied to land with the potential to be affected by extreme bushfires. The BMO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain uses, developments and subdivision, and requires appropriate bushfire protection measures.

The Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has reviewed and updated bushfire hazard mapping in planning schemes across Victoria. The mapping was reviewed as part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to implement all of the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and is in accordance with hazard mapping criteria developed by DELWP, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The review has resulted in 804 additional properties in the City of Knox being covered by the BMO and 204 properties being removed, bringing the total number of properties in Knox affected by the BMO to 2,198. Planning Scheme Amendment GC13 implemented this update on 3 October 2017.

Knox now also has BMO schedules for certain BMO areas. The two schedules - BMO1 and BMO2, specify bushfire protection measures for new homes based on local bushfire risk. Landowners can use the schedule’s predetermined bushfire protection measures and streamlined rules which simplify the application process.

To learn more about the BMO visit The DELWP Website.

You can check if your property is affected by the BMO using the State Government’s Planning Maps Online tool – Map Share.

For information and advice on applying for a planning permit in a BMO area, please contact Council’s City Planning Unit on 9298 8000.

Bushfire Preparedness

It is strongly recommended that residents in high bushfire risk areas develop and maintain a bushfire survival plan, obtain advice on appropriate building insurance, and prepare their home and property to manage bushfire risk.

The CFA website has information on making homes and properties safer. You can prepare a Fire Ready Kit here – CFA - Fire Ready Kit.

Council inspects all BMO properties to ensure compliance with fire prevention measures. For further information on this, please contact Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on 9298 8000.

What about vegetation within the BMO? – 10/50 rule

If you are living in or own a home in an area covered by a BMO that was built or approved before 10 September 2009, take special note. Clause 52.48 of the Planning Scheme allows residents to manage and clear certain vegetation that poses a bushfire hazard without a planning permit. This rule (known as the 10/50 rule) only applies in the BMO, and allows the clearing of:

  • Any vegetation (including trees) within 10 metres of an existing dwelling built before 10 September 2009.
  • Any vegetation (excluding trees) within 50 metres of an existing dwelling built before 10 September 2009.
  • Vegetation (including trees) for a combined maximum width of 4 metres on either side of an existing boundary fence between properties in different ownership. The extent of clearing along the fence needs to be negotiated with your neighbour.

Vegetation removal that does not meet the above exemptions may require a planning permit.

Residents seeking advice regarding trees on their property are encouraged to contact Council’s Arborists on 9298 8000.

Council always supports safety in the face of bushfire danger. However native vegetation in Knox supports the green leafy character of Knox and provides habitat for native fauna. We therefore also encourage residents to preserve trees and native vegetation that do not pose a fire risk.

The ‘10/50 rule’ does not apply to areas outside Knox’s Bushfire Management Overlay areas, while the ‘10/30 rule’ that applies to many other municipalities does not apply to Knox at all.

The ‘10/50’ rule does not override covenants or other legal requirements that have the effect of prohibiting the removal, destruction or lopping of vegetation.

Need Help?

If you have questions, you can contact us on 9298 8125 or alternatively, you can lodge a request below and a staff member will get back to you.

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