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 (the Department) 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. Land types are:
- coastal wetlands and littoral rainforest mapped under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018 (Coastal Management SEPP)
- core koala habitat identified in a plan of management under State Environmental Planning Policy No 44 – Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44)
- declared Ramsar wetlands defined by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- land containing threatened species or threatened ecological communities identified as potential serious and irreversible impacts (SAII) under section 6.5 of the BC Act
- biodiverse riparian land
- high conservation value grasslands or groundcover
- old growth forest identified in mapping developed under the National Forests Policy Statement but excluding areas not meeting the criteria published jointly by the Minister of the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries
- rainforest identified in mapping developed under the National Forests Policy Statement but excluding areas not meeting the criteria published jointly by the Minister for Energy and Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries
- declared areas of outstanding biodiversity value
- council nominated areas with connectivity or threatened species habitat that the Minister for Energy and Environment considers will conserve biodiversity at bioregional or state scale
- any other land that in the opinion of the Environment Agency Head is of sufficient biodiversity value to be included.
A brief description of how the mapping is developed for each of the above values is provided in the Types of Land on the Biodiversity Values Map.
Using the Biodiversity Values 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 Biodiversity Values 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, it is recommended that you use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
The tool allows developers, landholders and consent authorities to determine whether proposed development or clearing activates the BOS. You can use the tool to search for a location using an address or lot and deposited plan (DP) number and display the type of biodiversity value(s) occurring at a location. The tool can also produce a report stating whether the BOS threshold is triggered. The BMAT tool should be used as a guide only – consent authorities assess and determine development applications.
For more information about the BMAT tool, read the BMAT tool user guide. There is also a BMAT Tool demonstration video on how to use the Tool. The video is on the Local Government resources – Implementation support webpage under Biodiversity Offsets Scheme: Educational videos.
Accessing the Biodiversity Values Map data
You can access BV Map spatial data through the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) Portal.
There are two options for accessing the BV Map Spatial data through the SEED Portal:
- Web Mapping Service. For users with a compatible GIS, we provide a web service which can be used to access the current version of the BV Map.
- Download Package. Where use of the web mapping service is not 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, the use of geodatabase may be preferable, users need to be aware that the BV Map is updated regularly, and currency of the data is only valid on the day of download. Users should regularly check the Biodiversity Values Map homepage for updates.
Information about mapped values on a property
Landholders, or their agents, can apply for a Biodiversity Values Explanation Report. The report provides detailed descriptions and maps for all biodiversity values applicable to a property. This includes specific details of biodiversity values that are identified on the Biodiversity Values Map as threatened species or communities with potential for serious and irreversible impacts.
There is no fee for an explanation report and applications are usually completed within 10-15 working days.
You can find further information on the Biodiversity Values Explanation Report process, including the application form, on the Biodiversity Values Map Review page.
Requesting a review of the mapped values on a property
You or your agent can request a review of the Biodiversity Values Map if you consider the Biodiversity Values mapped on your property are incorrect.
We recommended that you seek an explanation report describing the biodiversity values on your property before requesting a map review.
There is no fee for a map review.
You can find further information on the Biodiversity Values Explanation Report or map review process, including the application form, on the Biodiversity Values Map Review page.
Updates to the Biodiversity Values Map
From time to time, we will update the Biodiversity Values Map to add or remove areas based on new information.
Updates to the Biodiversity Values 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 Biodiversity Values 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 Biodiversity Values Map' below.
The amendments made in the most recent update to the Biodiversity Values Map are set out in the following table.
|27 November 2020
|The following changes were made:
- changes arising from landholder-initiated map reviews
- addition of revised mapping for 7 species –
- Eucalyptus sp. cattai
- Myriophyllum implicatum
- Gentiana wingecarribiensis
- Swift parrot
- Pterostylis ventricosa
- Prasophyllum sp. Moama
- Pterostylis despectans
- addition of new mapping for 3 species –
- Zieria obcordata
- Bellinger River snapping turtle
- Thelymitra kangaloonica
- addition of revised mapping for 11 threatened ecological communities –
- Agnes Banks Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Blue Gum High Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Cumberland Plain Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Sun Valley Cabbage Gum Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological communities
- Blue Mountains Basalt Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological communities
- Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological communities
- Duffys Forest Ecological Community in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological communities
- addition of new mapping for 3 threatened ecological communities –
- Hygrocybeae Community of Lane Cove Bushland Park in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological communities
- Maroota Sands Swamp Forest endangered ecological communities
- Pittwater and Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological communities
- addition of core koala habitat identified in the Campbelltown Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management
- addition of core koala habitat identified in 3 Individual koala plans of management for land in the Port Macquarie Hastings local government area
- refinement of old growth and rainforest mapping
- removal of developed land
- colour changes associated with 90-day expiry (dark purple to light purple)
Areas added to the Biodiversity Values 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 shown in dark purple to distinguish them from areas that have been on the map longer than 90 days which are shown in 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 which, 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 has been granted on land within the nominated zones and the purpose of the approved subdivision has not yet been realised. For example, the clause will apply if a subdivision was approved for the purpose of creating residential lots and the dwellings on those lots have not yet been developed. If the purpose of the subdivision has been realised, this clause will not 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 will need to confirm if a subdivision approval has been granted in a relevant zone and if the purpose of the subdivision has not yet been realised. Council will also need to confirm that a proposed development is consistent with the purpose of the approved and unrealised subdivision.
Such development must still consider whether a biodiversity development assessment report is required because it exceeds the area clearing threshold, occurs in an area of outstanding biodiversity value, or it 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
We expect to call for local government nominations for land to be included on the map. This will be communicated directly to local government.
The Minister for Energy and Environment must be of the view that the nominated land will be of bioregional or state significance. The nominated land must also be approved by the Environment Agency Head.
At this stage there has been no call for nominations from local government.
Relationship between the Biodiversity Values 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.