Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan (LEP) Program

LEPs guide planning decisions for local government areas.  Through zoning and development controls, they allow councils and other consent authorities to manage the ways in which land is used.  LEPs are the primary planning tool to shape the future of communities and also oversee the estimated $20 billion worth of local development that is determined each year.

The Standard Instrument LEP Program was initiated in 2006 to create a common format and content for LEPs.  The Program was designed to simplify the plan making system in NSW, as previously there was no standard approach.  Plans were difficult to understand and used diverse approaches, resulting in an increasingly complex local planning system.  Many LEPs pre-dated the introduction of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and were in serious need of review.

Immediately prior to introduction of the Standard Instrument, there were approximately 5,500 local planning instruments across the State, containing some 3,100 different land use zones and 1,700 land use definitions.  The ultimate aim of the Program is to have one LEP for each local government area, using a standard suite of 35 land use zones and approximately 250 land use definitions.

Key outcomes of implementing the Program include:

  • a consistent way of reflecting recent strategic land use planning undertaken by councils and the NSW Government
  • provision of an adequate supply of land for housing and employment
  • effective management of natural, environmental and cultural resources

The NSW Government is committed to working cooperatively with all councils, to ensure appropriate and up-to-date local planning controls are in place.
Further information about the benefits of the Standard Instrument is outlined here in the Benefits of the LEP template: fact sheet (February 2008).

Status of the Standard Instrument LEP Program

As at 11 June 2014, the status of the Standard Instrument LEP Program is as follows:

152 Councils that have resolved to prepare an SI LEP 100% complete
152 Councils with approval to exhibit a draft SI LEP 100% complete
151 Councils that have exhibited a draft SI LEP 99% complete
148 Councils that have submitted an SI LEP to the Department of Planning & Environment for final review 97% complete
143 Councils that have completed an SI LEP 94% complete

A list and maps showing the status of LEPs made under the Standard Instrument, as at 11 June 2014, are shown below:

Supporting councils to prepare new plans

LEP Acceleration Fund

The NSW Government’s LEP Acceleration Fund currently assists 79 councils to accelerate the delivery of their Standard Instrument LEP for their local government area.  Read more >>

Local Planning Panel

The Minister for Planning has established a Local Planning Panel to consult local government involvement about issues with the plan-making process and improve the flexible delivery of the Standard Instrument LEP program.  Read more >>

Planning reform fund

The NSW Government’s Planning Reform Fund also assists councils with preparing a new Standard Instrument LEPs for their local government area. Read more >>  

Useful resources


For further information relating to the Standard Instrument or the preparation of LEPs, please contact the relevant regional office of the Department of Planning & Environment.

Last Updated 13-Jun-2014