Biodiversity Offset Scheme
The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Threshold is a test used to determine when is necessary to engage an accredited assessor to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (the BAM) to assess the impacts of a proposal.
It is only used for local developments (development applications submitted to councils) and clearing that does not require development consent in urban areas and areas zoned for environmental conservation (under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017).
The Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 sets out threshold levels for when the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme will be triggered. The threshold has two elements:
- Whether the amount of native vegetation being cleared exceeds a threshold area, or
- Whether the impacts occur on an area mapped on the Biodiversity Values map published by the Minister for the Environment
If clearing and other impacts exceeds either trigger, the Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies to the proposed development including biodiversity impacts prescribed by clause 6.1 of the Biodiversity Regulation 2017.
If the Biodiversity offsets scheme is not triggered, the test of significance detailed in section 7.3 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 must be used to determine whether a local development is likely to significantly affect threatened species.