Clearing requiring a property vegetation plan or consent

Under the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (the Act), all clearing of remnant native vegetation or protected regrowth requires landholders to seek approval to a property vegetation plan (PVP) from their Local Land Service (LLS) unless the clearing is:

(i) on land that is excluded from operation of the Act

(ii) categorised as excluded clearing, or

(iii) permitted clearing including routine agricultural management activities (RAMAs).

PVPs are plans submitted by a landholder for approval by an LLS that can describe how native vegetation will be managed on a property. This includes identifying areas that can be cleared and if necessary 'offset' areas. A PVP that proposes broadscale clearing cannot be approved unless the clearing will improve or maintain environmental outcomes.

As an alternative to a PVP, landholders can also obtain a development consent from their LLS to clear native vegetation. Development consent cannot be granted unless the clearing improves or maintains environmental outcomes.

What is clearing?

Clearing is defined as cutting down, felling, thinning, logging, removing, killing, destroying, poisoning, ringbarking, uprooting or burning native vegetation. Clearing therefore includes:

  • any type of ploughing that kills native groundcover
  • the under-scrubbing of native forests
  • herbicide spray drift that kills or destroys native vegetation, or
  • thinning of native woodlands.

This includes clearing of individual plants and applies to all layers of vegetation from groundcover to canopy trees.

Activities such as pruning, lopping or slashing of native groundcover, that do not kill the native vegetation, are not considered clearing. Burning that does not kill native vegetation or substantially reduce the composition and proportion of native species may not be considered as clearing, check with your LLS.

Because the definition of native vegetation does not include dead vegetation, the removal of dead timber is not considered clearing.

What is remnant native vegetation and regrowth?

Remnant native vegetation is any native vegetation other than regrowth. Regrowth means any native vegetation that has regrown following a lawful clearing event, since the earlier of the following dates:

  1. 1 January 1983 in the case of land in the Western Division and 1 January 1990 in the case of other land
  2. the date specified in a PVP (in exceptional circumstances being a date based on existing rotational farming practices).

What is protected regrowth?

Protected regrowth is native vegetation that has regrown since the regrowth date of 1 January 1990 (or 1 January 1983 in the Western Division) and has been identified as protected regrowth in a PVP, an environmental planning instrument, a natural resources management plan or an interim protection order under the Act. It also includes native vegetation that is regrowth that has been grown or preserved with the assistance of public funds granted for biodiversity conservation purposes.

What is groundcover?

Groundcover is defined as 'any type of herbaceous vegetation'. Herbaceous plants are those that are fleshy, including grasses, forbs, herbs and similar low-growing, non-woody plants. Approval is not required to clear groundcover in circumstances where the groundcover comprises less than 50% of species native to NSW and not less than 10% of the area is covered with vegetation.

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Page last updated: 21 April 2015