Environmental Planning & Approvals

Total Earth Care has extensive experience in environmental planning and approvals for both public and private sector clients.

Our team has a comprehensive understanding of NSW and Commonwealth environmental and planning legalisation and frameworks.

We pride ourselves on using this knowledge to provide clear and comprehensive advice to assist our clients in a smooth progression through often complex State and federal planning processes.

What Do We Offer?

Click items below to learn more or call our team today on 02 9913 1432

Pre-feasibility Assessments, Environmental Constraints Analysis and Preliminary Environmental Assessments/ Investigations (PEAs/ PEIs) each provide advice on the potential environmental issues early in the planning process. The differences in names often depends on the client (ie. local council, State government departments, private landholders) as well as the scale of the project.

These assessments identify key environmental constraints and opportunities to assist in designing and planning projects to avoid impacts. This early process often saves clients much time and money by identifying if a project is feasible in the time and budget they have. It can assist in identifying the best option to progress with and can also identify the relevant legislative planning pathways. This approach achieves both the most efficient outcome for the client and environment.

Pre-feasibility Assessments, Environmental Constraints Analysis and Preliminary Environmental Assessments/ Investigations (PEAs/ PEIs) each provide advice on the potential environmental issues early in the planning process. The differences in names often depends on the client (ie. local council, State government departments, private landholders) as well as the scale of the project.

These assessments identify key environmental constraints and opportunities to assist in designing and planning projects to avoid impacts. This early process often saves clients much time and money by identifying if a project is feasible in the time and budget they have. It can assist in identifying the best option to progress with and can also identify the relevant legislative planning pathways. This approach achieves both the most efficient outcome for the client and environment.

Pre-feasibility Assessments, Environmental Constraints Analysis and Preliminary Environmental Assessments/ Investigations (PEAs/ PEIs) each provide advice on the potential environmental issues early in the planning process. The differences in names often depends on the client (ie. local council, State government departments, private landholders) as well as the scale of the project.

These assessments identify key environmental constraints and opportunities to assist in designing and planning projects to avoid impacts. This early process often saves clients much time and money by identifying if a project is feasible in the time and budget they have. It can assist in identifying the best option to progress with and can also identify the relevant legislative planning pathways. This approach achieves both the most efficient outcome for the client and environment.

Total Earth Care can assist with the interpretation of local, NSW and Commonwealth environmental legislation and policies. This may involve the correct pathway needed to undertake a planning proposal or the potential implications of taking an action.

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) evaluate all the potential impacts to the environment resulting from the construction and operation of a proposal.

EIA is the process of the assessment which can include the technical study of environmental features, community consultation and reporting.

EIAs can be reported in different ways depending on the proposal, however Statement of Environmental Effects (SEEs) and Review of Environmental Factors (REFs) are some of the most common.

A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is a planning approval document that is often prepared by public bodies (ie. councils and state departments) under Part 5 for development Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). REFs address all the potential environmental impacts that may arise from construction and operation of the proposal including: biodiversity, noise and vibration, socio-economic and heritage.

A Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) is a document that details the potential environmental impacts associated with a proposal. SEEs are often required to support a Development Application (DA) to council, to formally request permission to undertake a development (i.e. house extension).

Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIAs) are commonly undertaken assessments to consider the likely impacts a development will have on biodiversity. FFIAs can be large or small depending on the scale of the development and are often a requirement from local council in the preparation of a Development Application (DA) where biodiversity is at risk. A FFIA will identify any threatened species, populations or communities likely to be present and where relevant will include a 'Test of Significance (5-part Test)' which will identify if the proposal would likely have a 'significant impact' on threatened biodiversity.

Tests of Significance (5-part Tests) are undertaken to assess if a development would have a 'significant impact' on a particular threatened species, population or community. 5-part Tests are commonly undertaken as part of a Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIA) and Review of Environmental Factors (REFs). 5-part Tests work through a standardised set of questions outlined in the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

A Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR) is a term that is sometimes used to generally describe Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDARs), Biodiversity Certification Assessment Reports (BCARs) and Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Reports (BSSARs). The term is also used interchangeably for some larger Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIAs) for projects that do not trigger a BDAR. A BAR can be prepared for a private or public client who are pursuing development approval under Part 4 or Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) under certain conditions.

On 25 August 2017 the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 commenced operation. The legislation introduced new frameworks for private land conservation, assessment of development proposals and biodiversity offsets. Under this legislation, a standardised method was prepared to allow for consistency within the industry. This method is called the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) and in order to prepare reports under the BC Act, ecologists must be BAM Accredited.

A Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) is a standardised document that is required for developments that meet one of the following triggers:

  • The amount of vegetation being removed relative to the size of the lot.
  • Whether or not there is likely to be a 'significant impact' on threatened biodiversity.
  • If the site is within the mapped 'Biodiversity Values Map'.

The BDAR itself describes the biodiversity assessment undertaken to identify the potential impact the proposal would have on biodiversity values on the site. The assessment must be undertaken by a BAM Accredited Assessor. The BDAR provides mitigation measures to avoid and minimise impacts and calculates the offsets required before the development can proceed.

This process can be complex. Our team can assist in advising if a BDAR is likely required for a specific development. When required our BAM Accredited Assessors can provide these reports for a competitive price.

A Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement documents the permanent agreement between a landholder and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to protect a piece of land. This agreement was previously known as a 'BioBanking Agreement'. Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements typically generate 'biodiversity credits' required for the offsetting of the impacts of development elsewhere.

A Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Report (BSSAR) itself describes the biodiversity assessment undertaken to identify the biodiversity values at the site. The assessment must be undertaken by a BAM Accredited Assessor.

When a development being proposed under Part 5 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), has potential for a significant impact on a threatened species, the proponent can choose to prepare a Species Impact Statements (SIS) instead of a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR). The requirements of an SIS are standardised and set out in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) protects animals, plants, habitats and heritage places which are identified as being nationally significant. Total Earth Care can conduct assessments to determine whether or not a proposal will have a significant impact on a Matter of National Environmental Significance (MNES). When a development may impact a MNES, a referral to the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DEWA) is required. Total Earth Care can assist with this process and undertake the early consultation with the Department to avoid delays and potentially reduce costs.

The role of an Environmental Management Representative (EMR) is to provide ongoing independent environmental advice during detailed design, construction and operation of a project. The EMR can often approve minor modifications to the project as it progresses and undertakes community consultation regarding environmental issues. The EMR can monitor the compliance of environmental conditions of approval and safeguards and identify additional issues that may arise later in the project.

Environmental Planning & Approvals

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For further information about our Environmental Consulting services please contact William Thurston on 02 9913 1432 or send us an email by clicking below:

William Thurston

Divisional Head of Environmental Consulting