UPSS Environmentally sensitive zones

The UPSS environmentally sensitive zones have been developed to apply a consistent level of protection for sensitive environmental receptors.

The UPSS environmentally sensitive zones were defined as

  • the regions immediately surrounding sensitive receptors (e.g. rivers, drinking water bores)
  • regions on or near vulnerable groundwater (e.g. due to geology, links to catchment areas)
  • regions of recognised environmental significance (e.g. national parks). 

Example: Defining environmentally sensitive zones

 Diagram of a river - a common sensitive receptor which needs to be protected

 Diagram of a river with 500 meter buffer zone for protection

 Diagram of a river with the buffer zone becoming part of the UPSS environmentally sensitive zone

1. River (a common sensitive receptor which needs to be protected). 2. Create a 500m buffer around the river. 3. The buffer becomes part of the UPSS environmentally sensitive zone.

Delineating environmentally sensitive zones

Conservative buffers were defined around bores and surface water features, including

  • a 500 metre buffer around all lakes and reservoirs
  • a 500 metre buffer along the coastline
  • a 500 metre buffer around all named and major drainage areas
  • a 5000 metre buffer around licensed bores used for public drinking water
  • a 1000 metre buffer around licensed domestic bores
  • a 500 metre buffer around licensed agricultural bores
  • protected areas, including all parks, reserves, estate and other lands that are administered for conservation purposes by the EPA, were considered to be sensitive zones.

The EPA has used data sourced from a range of government and industry stakeholders to create a set of high-risk areas which are considered to be environmentally sensitive zones.

How to determine if a site is outside a UPSS environmentally sensitive zone

To check if a site is located outside a UPSS environmentally sensitive zone, use OEH's environmentally sensitive zone maps. To do this you will need

  1. the local government area in which the site is located
  2. the street address of the site.

To check if the site is located outside a UPSS sensitive zone

  1. Download the relevant local council map from the UPSS environmentally sensitive zone map page.
  2. Locate the position of the site on the map. Remember these maps are a guide only and the final determination of whether a site lies outside a UPSS environmentally sensitive zone will be made by the EPA.
  3. Where the resolution of the PDF map does not enable you to precisely locate the UPSS site, contact the EPA via email on upssreg@epa.nsw.gov.au. You will need to include the business name and the exact street address of the site.

The location of a site as either inside or outside an identified environmentally sensitive zone may be a factor when considering an exemption application made under the UPSS Regulation. 

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