Using the Biodiversity Values Map

Using the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool to determine the presence of Biodiversity Values mapping and if the clearing of native vegetation area threshold is exceeded.

The Biodiversity Values Map should be considered for:

  • local developments ( not state significant development or complying development)
  • clearing regulated by the Biodiversity and Conservation State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)
  • exempt and complying development regulated by the Exempt and Complying Development Codes SEPP (for clearing regulated by the Biodiversity and Conservation SEPP, formerly called the Vegetation SEPP).

If a relevant clearing or development proposal has one of the following impacts in an area on the map, the Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies:

  • clearing native vegetation
  • any of the impacts described in clause 6.1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation.

Viewing the Biodiversity Values Map

You can view the Biodiversity Values Map through the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold (BMAT) tool.

Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold (BMAT) tool

The tool allows developers, landholders and consent authorities to determine if proposed development or clearing activates the Biodiversity Offset Scheme. You can use the tool to search for an address or lot and deposited plan number and display the type of biodiversity values types occurring at a location. The tool can also produce a report stating whether the Biodiversity Offset Scheme threshold is activated and whether a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report is required. There are 2 pathways for determining whether or not a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report is required for a proposed development:

  1. is there Biodiversity Values Mapping?
  2. is the 'clearing of native vegetation area threshold' exceeded?

The Biodiversity Map and Threshold Tool Report assesses both determination pathways and provides a definitive response on whether or not a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report is required. Proponents can use the tool report to supply evidence to a consent authority as a guide for assessing and determining development applications.

The tool allows users to upload polygons saved as a KML or shapefile. Shapefiles can be created in ArcGIS or Google Earth and uploaded to the tool to check if a proposed development footprint will activate the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

If you are an agent or have multiple landholdings, you can create your own account to save, edit, or share projects in the Biodiversity Map and Threshold Tool. This upgrade reduces time spent searching for properties and re-creating areas for evaluation or report extraction. If you wish to evaluate a single landholding, a Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold account is unnecessary, as you can still access the tool and evaluate areas without an account.

To create an account, please send an email to:

map.review@environment.nsw.gov.au

The Biodiversity Values Map and what it means for your Development Application

Periodic updates to the Biodiversity Values Map can involve the removal of land based on new information. For local development proposals where only the Biodiversity Values Map activates the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, it is important to regularly check if the Development Application site is still on the Biodiversity Values Map during the development application process.

Removal of the Development Application site may mean that you can avoid or reduce costs associated with preparation of a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report or meeting biodiversity credit requirements.

The Biodiversity Values Map and Biodiversity Certification and what it means for the future development of a property

Clearing and development of land on the Biodiversity Values Map will require a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report and offset impacts. The Biodiversity Values Map and Biodiversity Certification and what it means for the future development of a property –Fact Sheet for Solicitors and Conveyancers outlines how to check if a property is on the Biodiversity Values Map and other ways that a clearing or development proposal may activate the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme. This will assist them in alerting prospective buyers whether the property is on the Biodiversity Values Map. The fact sheet also provides information on biodiversity certification and explains that the Biodiversity Offset Scheme does not apply to land that is biodiversity certified.

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 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 Biodiversity Conservation 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 activated for other reasons.

This clause applies when subdivision approval was granted on land within the nominated zones and the purpose of the approved subdivision is not yet realised. For example, the clause applies if a subdivision was approved to create 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. The 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 Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Areas on the Biodiversity Values Map where the proposal does not involve clearing native vegetation or a prescribed impact

If development within areas on the Biodiversity Values 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) within the mapped area, the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is not applied based on the Biodiversity Values Map. Development applications need to show evidence to support this.

However, the proponent must also consider other criteria for the Biodiversity Offset Scheme:

  • Whether the area of native vegetation clearing in areas not on the Biodiversity Values Map exceeds the clearing area thresholds as specified in clause 7.2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation. The Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Evaluation Report automatically calculates whether or not the area clearing threshold is exceeded based on the size of the clearing footprint and information provided in the Native Vegetation Area Clearing Estimate map layer in the Biodiversity Values Map.
  • 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 Biodiversity Conservation Act.