Apply for heritage approvals and permits

Apply for an approval or permit to do work on a State heritage listed item and find out when approval may not be needed.

If you are planning work that may impact Aboriginal cultural heritage or environmental heritage you are likely to need approval. Depending on the heritage listing or nature of the work you may need to apply for more than one approval. In some cases an exemption or exception to needing approval will apply. 

This section explains the various approvals and permits we issue under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and Heritage Act 1977, and includes supporting information for local councils as consent authorities..

Check which approval or permit you may need

We assess applications for approvals or permits relating to:

Use the pre-lodgement service 

We offer a free service inviting you to seek pre-lodgement comments for proposed development involving: 

  • items listed on the State Heritage Register 
  • archaeological sites or relics.

Requesting pre-lodgement comments is recommended but not compulsory. It allows an opportunity for us to discuss the changes or activities you are planning and any potential impacts to heritage significance, before you lodge an application.

We usually provide only one opportunity for pre-lodgement comments for each proposal. We aim to respond to requests within two weeks.

When to request pre-lodgement comments  

We recommend requesting pre-lodgement comments at the start of your design process to ensure key issues are discussed early and before finalising your plans.

Before contacting us:

  • check the State Heritage Inventory to confirm if your proposal will affect a State Heritage Register listed item or Aboriginal Place 
  • review the item’s heritage listing and significance and consider how your proposal may impact the heritage significance. 

What information to provide  

The more information you can provide with your request, the more detailed pre-lodgement comments you are likely to receive. 

Email us a request and attach this supporting information as a minimum: 

  • site address
  • SHR name and number  
  • site survey including trees and built structures, Aboriginal sites, areas of historical archaeological potential
  • proposed scope of works
  • concept or sketch document of the proposed works including plans, sections and elevations - sketch plans should demonstrate the location and scale of the development in relation to the heritage item, Aboriginal objects or places, or predicted historical archaeology
  • whether the site includes known archaeological relics or has archaeological potential, and specific details of the depth of excavation proposed
  • photographs of built and landscape elements and the surrounding context
  • preliminary indication of materials and finishes 
  • key questions to ask us. 

Benefits of using the service  

Pre-lodgement comments can help:

  • clarify the appropriate assessment pathway for your proposal, for example:
    • eligibility for standard exemption, site specific exemption outlined in the listing or conservation management plan, or other exception 
    • whether you need to go through an integrated development application process 
    • whether your proposal may need to be advertised for public comments
  • identify key heritage issues and matters to be addressed in the application documents, such as archaeology or consultation with the Aboriginal community
  • clarify roles and responsibilities of Heritage NSW in the assessment and determination process
  • clarify submission requirements and essential documentation to provide, which can prevent delays in the assessment process once your application is lodged.

We will make every effort to provide pre-lodgement comments that assist with your proposal. Occasionally, pre-lodgement requests may be referred to the Heritage Council’s Approvals Committee for comment. We will give you further advice about this.

What the service does not offer

Pre-lodgement comments cannot:

  • guarantee consent
  • represent the views of the local council, Local Planning Panel, or relevant Sydney Planning Panel (if your application will be lodged with the local council under Integrated Development provisions of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979)
  • comment on local planning controls in a council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) such as height limits, zoning, applicable Development Control Plans (DCP), or controls contained in a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPPs). Contact the relevant local council to discuss these matters
  • reflect community views. 

The pre-lodgement service also does not involve public notification or consultation with the Aboriginal community or registered Aboriginal parties. 

Contact us