Banner image: Buffers and Separation Distances

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are seeking your views on the draft Buffer Area Overlay and guidance document on how the overlay would be used. To learn more about the overlay and consultation process, visit Engage Victoria.

Have your say

Submissions close at 5:00 pm on 14 October 2020.

Land use buffers and separation distances can help manage the location and siting of both industries and sensitive uses, such as residential development, to minimise land use conflict.

DELWP is reviewing how the planning system can better manage buffers between industries and sensitive uses.

How best to manage the interface between industries and sensitive uses is a longstanding planning issue. Currently, planning approaches to address buffer issues can vary, be complex and lead to inconsistent decision making.

In addition to the impact of land uses with offsite impacts on the amenity of sensitive uses, unplanned encroachment of sensitive uses can constrain the operation of industries, including critical infrastructure.

DELWP engaged Environmental Resources Management Australia Pty Ltd (ERM) to review how land use buffers and separation distances are currently managed in the Victorian planning system. The ERM technical report (PDF, 2.3 MB) provides an assessment of the current planning policy and tools in the Victoria Planning Provisions and analyses local and international case studies to understand how planning currently manages conflicting land uses.

The DELWP review responds to:

Guiding principles

The following principles have been identified to guide feedback and discussion about managing buffers and separation distances in Victoria and the future planning reforms.

Guiding principles for buffers

Have your say

Have your say about the review of planning for land use buffers and separation distances

Status: Closed

Planning for buffers and separation distances

Submissisions have now closed.

Public Exhibition

Submissions opens on

9.00am - Monday 18 November 2019

Submissions close on

5.00pm - Monday 16 December 2019

Consultations have now closed, If you need further information, please contact planning.systems@delwp.vic.gov.au.


Supporting Documents

All supporting documents for this project will be placed here.

Have Your Say feedback questions

Initial consultation 

Feedback informed options to reform the planning controls and how buffers can be better managed in the planning system.

The feedback was primarily focused on general industries and infrastructure uses with potential off-site amenity and safety impacts. Separate work related to Major Hazards Facilities is currently being undertaken by DELWP and will form part of a separate discussion process.

In responding to this feedback request, examples of when buffers have or have not worked and an explanation of why were requested.

The accompanying ERM Improving Planning Responses for Buffers/Separation Distances - Technical report is also available online.

Submissions for the first consultation have now been closed. Thank you for your feedback.

If you have any queries, please contact planning.systems@delwp.vic.gov.au

Feedback questions - initial consultation

Planning policy

Does current planning policy adequately deal with managing land use conflicts?

How can it be improved?

Reverse Amenity

Should the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) include specific mechanisms to protect industrial, warehouse or infrastructure uses from encroachment of sensitive uses? How can it be improved?

What type of activities and under what circumstances should a buffer be applied to manage encroachment of sensitive uses?

Who should own or control the buffer area?

How should sensitive uses be managed in the buffer area?

What uses should be considered as sensitive uses? Are there different categories of sensitive uses?

How can the planning system manage new development in areas where sensitive uses are already established in the buffer area?

Clause 53.10 improvements

How can clause 53.10 be improved to assist its operation and useability?

What impacts should clause 53.10 take account of?

Is the list and description of uses in clause 53.10 adequate or can it be improved? If so, how? For example, classifications of industry types rather than lists of individual industries.

Should the threshold distances in clause 53.10 set out a minimum mandatory separation distance that must be met? If so, what industries or for what impacts should this apply to?

What additional features in clause 53.10 are required, for example application requirements and decision guidelines?

Zones and overlay improvements

How well does the existing suite of zones and overlays manage buffers?

How can the existing industrial zones be improved to better manage buffers?

Is a new overlay to identify and manage buffers required, and if so, what scope and features should it include?

Advice and guidance

What information and guidance is required to support the management of buffers in the planning system?

What role should the EPA’s Recommended Separation Distances for Industrial Residual Air Emissions, the State Environment Protection Policies (SEPPs) and other relevant documents have in the VPP to assist decision making?