NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects

The NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects commenced on 1 October 2014 and applies to state significant development and state significant infrastructure under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 commenced on 25 August 2017.

The information on this page only remains relevant for savings and transitional arrangements under former legislation and policy. Visit Biodiversity Offset Scheme Transitional Arrangements for more information.

The NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects (PDF 331KB) commenced on 1 October 2014. The policy clarifies, standardises and improves biodiversity offsetting for major project approvals. The policy applies to state significant development and state significant infrastructure under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, such as highways, mines and hospitals (these are called 'major projects').

The policy aims to strike an effective balance between the needs of proponents, communities and the environment by:

  • providing clear, efficient and certain guidance for stakeholders
  • improving outcomes for the environment and communities
  • providing a practical and achievable offset scheme for proponents.

Addendum for upland swamps impacted by longwall mining

This addendum to the NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects (PDF 549KB) establishes a framework to measure and address the impact of subsidence associated with longwall mining on upland swamps.

Framework for Biodiversity Assessment

The policy is underpinned by the Framework for Biodiversity Assessment (FBA) (PDF 1.27MB) which sets out the process for:

  • assessing biodiversity impacts on a proposed development site
  • determining the biodiversity offset requirements for those impacts.

An inconsistency has been identified between the FBA and the policy regarding the circumstances where an offset is not required due to vegetation being below a certain condition. The practice note - Offset threshold for vegetation below a certain condition level (PDF 91 KB) has been released to correct this inconsistency.

Credit calculator

The credit calculator is a web application that should be used in conjunction with the FBA and the BioBanking Assessment Methodology (the methodology). The credit calculator allows ecological consultants and industry groups to:

  • assess the biodiversity on a proposed development site, in conjunction with the FBA
  • calculate the number and type of credits required to offset the impacts of a major project on biodiversity
  • calculate the number and type of credits to be created on a biobank site
  • estimate the approximate area of land required for an offset.

Additional instructions for the new linear module are provided in the explanation sheet for calculations and input into the linear module (PDF 515KB).

A user name and password are required to access the calculator. User names and passwords are allocated by OEH to accredited BioBanking Assessors.

In addition to the credit calculator, a spreadsheet calculator (XLS 41KB) has been developed to assist assessors to calculate biodiversity credits generated from mine site rehabilitation (Section 12.2 of the FBA).

Was this page helpful?

Thank you for your feedback.

Would you like to tell us more?

Share this

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter More...
Page last updated: 17 January 2019