The Northern Rivers farmland protection project
The Northern Rivers farmland protection project

Controversial farmland protection plans finalised

By Nerida Blok

The highly controversial mapping of North Coast farmland for protection from urban and rural residential development has been finalised.

The maps, which were produced under a Farmland Protection Project co-ordinated by the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR), in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries, can now be seen at local councils.

The aim of the pilot project is to keep farming options open in the future.

"So much land has been lost in the past ? good land," said DIPNR environmental planning officer Claire Aman.

Ms Aman said the mapping of areas into State and regional significance was based on soil land- scape, including land capability, soil characteristics and fertility.

She said areas classified as State significant did not mean farmers could not sub-divide.

"If you are in a rural zone, whatever you can do now doesn't change," she said.

"It means the land can't be rezoned to rural residential or urban."

Following two consultation periods in 2003 and 2004, Ms Aman said a number of places around Tullera, Modanville, Dunoon and Bangalow, initially classified as State significant, were changed to regionally significant.

"Soil scientists confirmed the soils in those areas were shallower, with too many rocky outcrops," she said.

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