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Environment zones

Environment zones are being renamed as 'conservation zones'

Environment zones are now known as conservation zones across local environmental plans prepared under the Standard Instrument Order

There are 4 types:

  • Zone C1 – National Parks and Nature Reserves
  • Zone C2 – Environmental Conservation
  • Zone C3 – Environmental Management
  • Zone C4 – Environmental Living.

The objectives and land use tables remain the same across all zones. Only the prefix and zone category changed.

How we have made the change

The change to conservation zones occurred as part of the implementation of employment zones.

Why the change?

This is a change of name for administrative reasons. The term ‘environment zone’ is too broad and confusing. The new name signals the conservation land use function more clearly.

The aim is to conserve the environmental values and natural qualities in areas where this land use zoning is applied.

What about current environment zones?

Only the name of the zones is changing. Land uses that were permitted or prohibited in environment zones are unchanged.

Support for councils

The department recognises the work councils do in implementing planning reforms. To support councils in transitioning to the new zone names, we will provide advice directly to councils on updating documentation and informing landholders of the change.

New approach to environmental zoning on the Far North Coast

Please note that following the making of Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021 the reference to an environment protection zone in the Northern Councils E Zone Review Final Recommendations Report should be taken to be a reference to a conservation zone. This name change does not alter the recommendations of the Northern councils E Zone review.

The department has developed a new approach to environmental zoning on the Far North Coast to support farming and protect the environment.

The Northern Councils E Zone Review Final Recommendations Report aims to provide greater certainty for landowners, councils and the community on how environmental zoning will be applied.

Environment zones - or 'E zones' - are designed to protect land that is of important environmental value. The Final Recommendations Report ensures that environmental zones are applied to places on the Far North Coast where the 'primary use' of the land justifies either environmental conservation ('E2') or environmental management ('E3') zoning, based on validated ecological evidence. The ‘primary use’ of the land - the main use for which the land has been used for the last two years - is to be the first consideration when making zoning decisions.

The final recommendations take into account the views expressed by councils, agencies, community organisations, landowners and the general public in more than 400 submissions we received during the public consultation on the interim report in 2014.


For more information read the frequently asked questions (PDF, 169 KB) or email the project team at [email protected]