Catherine Ryland

Catherine Ryland

Catherine Ryland

Associate | Meridian Urban

Catherine is an urban planner with almost 20 years of diversified industry experience in the UK and Australia.  Catherine has extensive experience in planning policy and strategy as well as development assessment.

The last six years of Catherine’s career have been with the NSW Rural Fire Service where she led the preparation of policy and setting of frameworks for the assessment of development applications on bushfire prone land.  Catherine was responsible for the review and publication of a major update to the legislated NSW RFS document “Planning for Bush Fire Protection”.


Bushfire Planning in NSW

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) is the national body representing planners and the planning profession. PIA provides professional education, communicates key planning policy changes to its members and advocates on various policy positions to Federal and State government bodies. 

Planning has a key role to play in effective bush fire mitigation across the State of NSW. Over 800,000 private lots are currently mapped as bush fire prone in NSW (based on 2012 data, this will need to be updated when new data can be provided by NSW RFS) This means that a large number of development proposals, over 5000 per year, need to capture bush fire mitigation measures. Changes to planning policies and legislation can have significant impacts on all types of development proposal.

The NSW planning system is moving towards a more strategic system of assessing large scale development proposals and applications to re-zone. Planning for hazard mitigation and community resilience is a key part of this strategic assessment process and the need for strategic assessment of bush fire prone land is likely to increase over the coming years.

PIA takes an active role in lobbying the NSW Government and advocating for policy positions which are informed by PIA’s growing membership. Topics which have relevance to bush fire planning and will be discussed include the restructure of NSW DPIE following the recent NSW State election, the increase in complying development codes, including the Medium Density Housing Code, Strategic Planning, Regional Planning, Climate Change and Sustainability.