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Proposed changes to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme

From February this year, the NSW Government proposed changes to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme for building developments.

So how will this affect you?

Under the new NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act), a large proportion of developments in NSW will require an ecological assessment using the new Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM). The BC Act requires that all assessments under the BAM must be undertaken by an Accredited BAM Assessor, appointed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Developments subject to the BAM include those requiring consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) that have an impact that meets or is above the Biodiversity Offset Scheme threshold or are located in Biodiversity Value, State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure.

The BAM method determines the biodiversity value of the land, and the impact of the proposal on these values. The BAM then informs a calculation to determine the offset requirements of the development, which can be met by providing or purchasing ‘like for like’ credits, paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund or paying for a Biodiversity Conservation Action.

These upcoming changes will likely effect an additional 6,000 developments with biodiversity offset costs each year. These changes are not isolated to large developments, but are also likely to impact small developments and even mums and dads building their family home.

What is the Offset Scheme Threshold?

When will these changes commence?

These changes have already taken effect in many local government areas, however a transitional period has been put in place for the following local government areas – Cessnock, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour and the West Dapto Urban Release area in Wollongong, as well as Western Sydney local government areas including Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly.  Applications for development consent, or modification to an approved development under Part 4 of the EP&A Act will continue to be assessed under former planning provisions until the 24th November, 2018.

Are you ready? Need help?

The Advitech Group’s Biodiversity team can advise you of the likely impacts and are able to prepare assessments under the BC Act. The Biodiversity team’s objective is quite simple;

  • Avoid
  • Minimise
  • Offset

Our team’s objective is to initially help you avoid triggering the offset threshold, however if this isn’t possible, they will advise on how best to manage your project to minimise offset obligations as much as possible and thereby reduce costs.

Our team’s capabilities include Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports and Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Reports, as well as other capabilities and accreditations in the field of Ecology.

Need to know more? 

Our Biodiversity Assessors will be holding a webinar in the coming months to keep you up to date with all of the latest news regarding the new offset scheme, who it affects and when it comes into play.

Sign up to our newsletter to register your interest and receive an invitation to this upcoming webinar.

To chat to one of our certified assessors contact us today on 4924 5400.