Legal Insights

What the heck is a ‘conservation zone’?

By Joshua Same, Blake Dyer

• 31 March 2022 • 1 min read
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There has been a significant amount of change to our planning system of late, which led the current NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to say 'the concept of planning reform fatigue is real'.

With this in mind, we thought it prudent to answer a burning question that has surely kept you up at night:

‘What the heck is a conservation zone and where did it come from?’

A ‘conservation zone’ is simply a renaming of what was previously known as an ‘Environmental Zone’ in the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006.

This change came into effect on 1 December 2020 and automatically amended local environmental plans (and some state environmental plans) across New South Wales – but as at the date of this email, this change hasn’t been updated in all environmental planning instruments on the NSW legislation website.

Why the need for the change?

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment explains that the change was made to clear up confusion and to reflect the ‘conservation’ land use function more clearly. The focus, purpose, and intent of these zones is clearly signalled.1

So there you have it, you can rest easy and there is no longer any need to be confused!

NSW Department of Panning and Environment, “Environment zones are being renamed as ‘conservation zones’”, 28 January 2022,

Want to know more on Conservation Zones

Get in touch with our NSW Planning & Environment team

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