Lake Macquarie contains a unique environment and biodiversity needs to be considered as part of any development application to:

  • establish how a proposed development can avoid, minimise or mitigate potential impacts to biodiversity in accordance with the legislation
  • determine if the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is triggered
  • determine if formal offset obligations are required.

Biodiversity may require assessment of vegetation clearing that does not require a development consent.

What is the approval process?

Development consent is required when the clearing of native vegetation is proposed, including to:

  • any native vegetation where the clearing proposed exceeds clearing thresholds identified under Part 7 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017
  • any tree listed on Council’s Significant Tree Register(PDF, 1MB)
  • trees or native vegetation listed as heritage items or located within a heritage conservation area
  • a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) greater than 3m in height or greater than 75cm measured at ground level

Development consent is not required for the clearing of native vegetation if there is an existing exemption mechanism, such as those under the Local Land Services, or mechanisms identified under Council's Tree Preservation and Native Vegetation Management Guidelines. 

What report do I need?

The type of report required is dependent on the extent of clearing proposed and the appropriate approval pathway relevant to your proposal. In general, there are three types of ecological reports that could be required:

  • Flora and Fauna Impact Assessment
  • Biodiversity Development Assessment Report – Streamlined Assessment
  • Biodiversity Development Assessment Report – Full Assessment

An Arboricultural Impact Assessment for canopy trees may be required in conjunction with an ecological report or as an alternative report, depending on the attributes of the property. 

Council provide interactive tools to assist customers in determining whether a development application may be required and provides guidance in identifying what report may be appropriate.

  • Where clearing of vegetation is proposed and requires a development application, Council's biodiversity assessment tool can assist in determining what type of report is suitable.
  • For individual trees, the tree pruning and removal tool can identify whether the proposed clearing requires a development application.
  • The NSW Government provide a preliminary assessment tool to find out if a BDAR is a suitable assessment

If the interactive biodiversity assessment tool or the preliminary assessment tool provided by the NSW Government has identified that a BDAR is required, there are additional considerations that must be reviewed by a suitably qualified person to provide the appropriate level of assessment.

Any advice provided through the biodiversity assessment tool regarding the requirement for a BDAR should be reviewed by an Accredited Assessor listed on the public register prior the preparation of assessment reports associated with clearing.

Where a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report needs to be prepared, biodiversity offset obligations may be required as part of consent and prior to receiving a construction/subdivision certificate. Discussion with an Accredited Assessor is recommended to ensure the customer is appropriately informed of the requirements under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

What else do I need to consider?

There are several important legislative requirements and other factors that must also be considered when proposing clearing of biodiversity. These include but are not limited to: