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Biodiversity assessment and approvals decision support tool

Navigator: identifying your pathway for required biodiversity assessment and approvals 

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016, and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 together regulate land management and biodiversity conservation in NSW.

Assessment and approval pathways for vegetation clearing activities will now depend upon the nature, location and extent of the vegetation clearing activity.

What vegetation clearing assessment and approvals apply to me?

Use the below questions to navigate the land management and biodiversity conservation framework to figure out which approvals apply to your activity.

Biodiversity Disclaimer


 

 

Likely Assessment Required


Unsure?  Visit the NSW Planning Portal (Link https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/find-a-property) to search for planning information relating to your property and your local Council’s website to view the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) for planning controls in your area. 

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme is optional for Part 5 proponents.  If the activity is likely to significantly affect threatened species a Species Impact Statement, or if the proponent chooses a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report, must be prepared. Where the proponent ‘opts in’ to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme by preparing a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report, concurrence is not required from the CE OEH.  In a Part 5 context an activity is likely to significantly affect threatened species if it is carried out in an area of outstanding biodiversity value or likely to significantly affect threatened species or ecological communities, or their habitats, according to the test in  s7.3 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.  The biodiversity offset scheme threshold does not apply.

Visit the Planning and Environment website (Link https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/understanding-planning/assessment-systems/development-without-consent) for more information on assessments and approvals under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Your clearing proposal may require a permit from your local Council.  Contact your local Council for information on the Development Control Plan or other relevant instrument.

Native vegetation is defined in s60B of Schedule 1 of the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016.  Clearing of native vegetation is defined in s60C of Schedule 1 of the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016.  Visit Legislation NSW (Link http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2016/64) to view the Act).

If your property is within the Blacktown, Botany Bay, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, City of Parramatta, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, North Sydney, Penrith, Randwick, Rockdale, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby or Woollahra local government area you should answer yes to this question.

Your clearing proposal will be regulated under the Local Land Services Act 2016.  Visit the Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation website <Link https://www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au/land-management-and-regulatory-maps/> for more detail.

 

Likely Assessment Required


Visit the NSW Planning Portal to search for planning information relating to your property.

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme likely applies to your development application. Any clearing of native vegetation within the Biodiversity Values Map will be subject to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

Any prescribed action taken on the Biodiversity Values Map will be subject to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme. Prescribed impacts include (cl. 6.1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017):

(a)  the impacts of development on the following habitat of threatened species or ecological communities:

(i)  karst, caves, crevices, cliffs and other geological features of significance,

(ii)  rocks,

(iii)  human made structures,

(iv)  non-native vegetation,

(b)  the impacts of development on the connectivity of different areas of habitat of threatened species that facilitates the movement of those species across their range,

(c)  the impacts of development on movement of threatened species that maintains their lifecycle,

(d)  the impacts of development on water quality, water bodies and hydrological processes that sustain threatened species and threatened ecological communities (including from subsidence or upsidence resulting from underground mining or other development),

(e)  the impacts of wind turbine strikes on protected animals,

(f)  the impacts of vehicle strikes on threatened species of animals or on animals that are part of a threatened ecological community.

If in doubt, it is recommended that you seek advice from an accredited assessor or your local Council.

 

Visit the Biodiversity Offset Scheme page to access the Biodiversity Offset Entry Threshold tool) and use BOSET User Manual to digitise your development’s footprint and get advice on whether it occurs on the Biodiversity Values Map.

Any part of your development includes buildings, landscaping, access roads, bushfire asset protection zones, fencing and any associated infrastructure whether temporary or permanent.

 

What is a Bushfire Asset Protection Zone?

Development on bush fire prone land will normally require the implementation of a set-back distance which is referred to as an asset protection zone. An asset protection zone (APZ) aims to protect human life, property and highly valued assets. It is a buffer zone between a bush fire hazard and buildings, which is managed progressively to minimise fuel loads and reduce the potential radiant heat levels. For more detailed information go to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/building-in-a-bush-fire-area/....

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies to your clearing proposal.  You will need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report in accordance with the Biodiversity Assessment Method.  The Native Vegetation Panel, established under the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016, will use this report to consider whether to approve your vegetation clearing proposal.  However, the Native Vegetation Panel may delegate their approval role under the Vegetation SEPP to a local Council.  Check with your Council whether they have accepted this delegation, if not, contact your closest Local Land Services office.

Visit the Biodiversity Offset Scheme page to access the Biodiversity Offset Entry Threshold tool and use the User Manual to digitise your clearing footprint and get advice on whether it occurs on the Biodiversity Values Map.

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies to your clearing proposal.  You will need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report in accordance with the Biodiversity Assessment Method.  Your local Council will use this report to consider whether to approve your vegetation clearing proposal as part of your development application in accordance with the requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Visit the Biodiversity Offset Scheme page to determine whether or not your development exceeds the biodiversity offset scheme threshold because it is exceeds the area clearing thresholds set out in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 detailed in the table below.

Note that the BOSET tool does not currently include vegetation mapping in areas regulated by the Vegetation SEPP. All clearing estimates in these areas will have to be performed outside of the tool.  The User Manual provides guidance on completing this step.

The BOSET tool does include vegetation mapping in areas regulated by Part 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013. This includes draft mapping for Category 1 and Category 2 areas.

 

The area of impact needs to be calculated for the whole development. This includes buildings, landscaping, access roads, bushfire asset protection zones, fencing and any associated infrastructure.  The BOSET User Manual provides guidance on determining your area of clearing.

 

Area clearing threshold

The area threshold varies depending on the minimum lot size (shown in the Lot Size Maps made under the relevant Council Local Environmental Plan (LEP)), or actual lot size if the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size for the land.

Minimum lot size associated with the property

Threshold area for clearing, above which the BAM and offsets scheme applies

Less than 1 hectare

0.25 hectare or more

 

1 hectare to less than 40 hectare

0.5 hectare or more

 

40 hectare to less than 1000 hectare

1 hectare or more

 

1000 hectare ore more

2 hectare or more

 

 

What is a Bushfire Asset Protection Zone?

Development on bush fire prone land will normally require the implementation of a set-back distance which is referred to as an asset protection zone. An asset protection zone (APZ) aims to protect human life, property and highly valued assets. It is a buffer zone between a bush fire hazard and buildings, which is managed progressively to minimise fuel loads and reduce the potential radiant heat levels. For more detailed information go to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/building-in-a-bush-fire-area/bush-fire-protection-measures/asset-protection-zones

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies to your clearing proposal.  You will need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report in accordance with the Biodiversity Assessment Method. The Native Vegetation Panel, established under the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016, will use this report to consider whether to approve your vegetation clearing proposal.  However, the Native Vegetation Panel may delegate their approval role under the Vegetation SEPP to a local Council.  Check with your Council whether they have accepted this delegation, if not, contact your closest Local Land Services office.

The clearing will be regulated by the SEPP and Council’s Development Control Plans.  Your clearing proposal may require a permit from your local Council or, if not regulated by Council’s Development Control Plan, a Biodiversity Conservation Licence from OEH.  Contact your local Council for information on the Development Control Plan or other relevant instrument.

 

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies to your clearing proposal.  You will need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report in accordance with the Biodiversity Assessment Method.  Your local Council will consider whether to approve your vegetation clearing proposal as part of your development application in accordance with the requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The Biodiversity Offset Scheme does not apply to your clearing proposal. Your local Council will consider whether to approve your vegetation clearing proposal as part of your development application.  Your test of significance and evidence that your proposal does not trigger the offset scheme threshold must be included with your development application.

You will need to engage a suitably qualified professional to undertake a test of significance in accordance with s7.3 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

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