The Biodiversity Values (BV) Map identifies land with high biodiversity value that is particularly sensitive to impacts from development and clearing. The map forms part of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold, which is one of the triggers for determining whether the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) applies to a clearing or development proposal. The map is prepared by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment under Part 7 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).
Values on the Biodiversity Values Map
Clause 7.3(3) of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 describes types of land the Environment Agency Head can include on the BV Map.
Using the BV Map
The BV Map is relevant for:
- local developments (development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 which is not state significant development or complying development)
- clearing regulated by the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP).
If a relevant clearing or development proposal has one of the following impacts in an area on the BV Map, the BOS applies:
- clearing native vegetation
- an impact prescribed under clause 6.1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation.
Viewing the BV Map
You can view the BV Map through the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold (BMAT) tool. Note: When accessing the BMAT tool on Windows 10 devices, we recommended you use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
The tool allows developers, landholders and consent authorities to determine if proposed development or clearing activates the BOS. You can use the tool to search for a an address or lot and deposited plan (DP) number and display the type of biodiversity value(s) types occurring at a location. The tool can also produce a report stating whether the BOS threshold is triggered. The BMAT tool is a guide only – consent authorities assess and determine development applications.
For more information read the BMAT tool user guide. There is also a demonstration video on how to use the BMAT Tool. Visit Local government and other decision maker support.
Accessing the BV Map data
You can access BV Map spatial data through the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) Portal.
There are two options for accessing BV Map Spatial data through the SEED Portal:
- Web Mapping Service For users with a compatible GIS, we provide a web service to access the current version of the BV Map.
- Download Package If use of the web mapping service isn't feasible, data download packages are also available from SEED. The format of the data in the download package is ESRI file geodatabase. While in some instances, use of geodatabase may be preferable, users need to be aware the BV Map is updated regularly, and currency of the data is only valid on the day of download. Users should regularly check the BV Map homepage for updates.
Biodiversity Values Explanation Report and Map Review
Landholders, or their agents, can apply for a Biodiversity Values (BV) Explanation Report or a BV Map Review.
- A BV explanation report provides detailed descriptions and maps for all biodiversity values applicable to a property.
- We recommend applying for an explanation report before requesting a map review.
- A BV map review is a pathway for you to provide information supporting a map change if you consider the biodiversity values mapped on your property are incorrect.
There is no fee for a BV explanation report or a BV map review.
Apply for a biodiversity values explanation report or map review
Updates to the BV Map
From time to time, we update the BV Map to add or remove areas based on new information.
Updates to the BV Map are likely to include targeted reviews of specific data layers or regions. This process may result in inclusion or removal of some lands from the map. We will contact relevant data custodians to request updated or new data. Areas added to the BV Map in the last 90 days are displayed differently from areas that have been on the map longer than 90 days.
For more information about how colours are used on the map, see 'Areas added to the BV Map' below.
Areas added to the BV Map
Proposed development to be carried out on land added to the BV Map does not exceed the BOS threshold if the land is the subject of an application for planning approval when the land was included on the BV Map and for 90 days after.
Areas added to the BV Map in the last 90 days are dark purple. Areas shown on the map longer than 90 days which are light purple.
For areas added in the last 90 days, the report generated by the BMAT Tool states the date that this 90-day period expires. After this date a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) would be required for clearing in these areas.
In some circumstances the biodiversity values map threshold will not apply to development of a lot the result of an approved subdivision
Clause 7.3(4) of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 provides that a proposed development (other than subdivision) does not exceed the biodiversity offsets scheme threshold merely because of the biodiversity values map if carried out on a lot that was the result of a subdivision carried out before the commencement of the BC Act (25 August 2017) within land zoned R1 to R4, RU5, B1 to B8 or IN1 to IN3. However, the biodiversity offsets scheme may be triggered for other reasons.
This clause applies in circumstances where subdivision approval was granted on land within the nominated zones and the purpose of the approved subdivision is not yet been realised. For example, the clause applies if a subdivision was approved for the purpose of creating residential lots and the dwellings on those lots are not yet developed. If the purpose of the subdivision is realised, this clause won't apply. For example, if a dwelling has already been developed, the clause will not apply to a development application for a secondary dwelling or other ancillary use. Councils need to confirm if a subdivision approval is granted in a relevant zone and the purpose of the subdivision is not yet realised. Council also needs to confirm that a proposed development is consistent with the purpose of the approved and unrealised subdivision.
Such development must still consider if a biodiversity development assessment report is required because it exceeds the area clearing threshold, occurs in an area of outstanding biodiversity value, or is likely to significantly affect threatened species or ecological communities, or their habitats, based on the test of significance in section 7.3 of the BC Act.
Areas on the biodiversity values map where the proposal does not involve clearing native vegetation or threatened species habitat
If development within areas on the BV Map does not involve clearing native vegetation (including groundcover, trees and understorey plants) or a prescribed impact (as set out in clause 6.1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017) within the mapped area, the BOS is not applied based on the BV Map. Development applications need to show evidence to support this.
However, the proponent must also consider other criteria for the BOS:
- whether the area of native vegetation clearing in areas not on the BV Map exceeds the clearing area thresholds as specified in clause 7.2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017
- whether the proposed development or activity is likely to significantly affect threatened species, or ecological communities or their habitats based on the test of significance in section 7.3 of the BC Act.
You can find out more about the Scheme on our BOS webpage or you can visit Biodiversity Offsets Scheme support or phone 131 555.
Local government nominations for additions to the Biodiversity Values Map
The Biodiversity Conservation Act gives the Minister for Energy and Environment the power to receive nominations from local government for land to be added to the Biodiversity Values Map.
The Minister for Energy and Environment must be convinced that the nominated land will be of bioregional or state significance. The Environment Agency Head must also approve the nominated land.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is currently developing guidelines to facilitate the inclusion of council nominated areas into the Biodiversity Values Map.
Use of the Biodiversity Values Map for informing Local Environmental Plans Terrestrial Biodiversity Maps
Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) can include a clause which requires the council to consider, before determining an application for development on land on their LEP biodiversity map, the impacts of the development and measures to avoid, minimise or mitigate the impacts. Councils may be interested in using the Biodiversity Values (BV) Map to inform the development and update of their LEP biodiversity maps.
The department has developed the BV Map under Part 7 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 for a specific purpose – as a trigger into the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (BOS). Development proposals that exceed the BOS threshold are required to have a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report prepared and offset impacts in addition to any requirements that the council may impose under the LEP. The BV Map is regularly updated and progressively refined (refer to Updates to the BV Map above).
LEP biodiversity maps are not required to be consistent with the BV Map, and councils can include any land they consider has important biodiversity values for their area. Councils can choose to use the BV Map to inform the development and updating of their LEP biodiversity map. The spatial data for the current BV Map can be accessed through the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) Portal.
Relationship between the BV Map and the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map
Some land included on the BV Map is also land categorised on the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map (NVR Map). However, the two maps have different purposes.
- The NVR Map determines how clearing on rural land not requiring planning approval, is regulated under the Local Land Services Act 2013 and associated regulation.
- The BV Map represents one of the criteria for entry into the BOS for some types of clearing and development proposals under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Although the two maps have different purposes, changes made to the BV Map involving mapping criteria in common with the NVR Map will lead to a category change on the NVR Map. Find out more about the NVR Map.