Protecting native vegetation in urban areas and environmental zones

A proposed state policy will guard native vegetation in urban areas and land zoned for environmental protection by providing a consistent approach to clearing in NSW.

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy & Strategy, Alison Frame, said protecting native vegetation in these areas would conserve local and regional biodiversity, as the NSW Government released a package of biodiversity reforms which includes the Explanation of Intended Effect for the new State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation) (SEPP).

“This proposed SEPP will ensure the biodiversity offset scheme ­– established under the government’s Land Management and Biodiversity Reforms – will apply to all clearing of native vegetation that exceeds the offset thresholds in urban areas and environmental conservation zones. The SEPP only applies to clearing that does not require development consent,” Ms Frame said.

“It will also provide councils with better regulatory tools for managing clearing of native vegetation through their development control plans.

“Native trees and plants and their ecosystems are vital for the health of our environment, supporting native animals and protecting soil and water.

“In addition to supporting biodiversity, native vegetation is important to the natural heritage of urban areas. Communities also place a high priority on its aesthetic, recreational, educational and scientific value.”

The Department of Planning has been working closely with other agencies to prepare a reform package that will modernise and simplify a fragmented and aging set of biodiversity laws and slow the rate of biodiversity lost through clearing of native vegetation.

The Vegetation SEPP will help mitigate the biodiversity impacts caused by clearing of native vegetation in our cities and in environmental conservation zones through a single set of rules that will be consistently applied.

The proposed SEPP and the draft regulations that will support the Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Amendment Act are on exhibition for public feedback from today. The government will continue to engage with stakeholders and the community through this consultation process before the biodiversity offset scheme established by these new Acts commences later this year.

The Explanation of Intended Effect for the new Vegetation SEPP is on exhibition for public feedback until 21 June 2017. It can be viewed here

Details of the full NSW Government Biodiversity Reforms package can be found here

Berejiklian Government introduces “tree killing regulations”

NSW Greens MP and Environment spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has said that new environmental regulations released today (May 10) for public exhibition show the Berejiklian Government is as anti-environment as the Baird Government.

Dr Faruqi said: “The Berejiklian Government has shown itself to be every inch an environmental vandal as the Baird Government”.

“After the NSW Government pushed through its bills late last year that make land clearing and destroying the environment much easier, they have now released the regulations that are every bit as bad as we feared.

“The key elements of these regulations are a recipe for disaster. Self-assessable codes don’t work and take away key environmental protections. The expansion of the biodiversity offset scheme is a scam and only facilitates the loss of threatened species and endangered ecological communities.

“The Greens will be making a submission against these regulations and will be moving to disallow them if they are not drastically reformed to protect and enhance the environment.

“We are already losing so much green space and biodiversity in New South Wales. We cannot allow these regulations to go ahead.

“Any commitment this Government has to combating climate change is just a joke unless they get serious about stopping land clearing and the millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases that will get released through rampant tree clearing.”