camping permit banner
Licences & permits

Planning for a development

Regulations to consider

When scoping a development project, it is important to be aware of environmental regulations that might impact your proposed works.

Developers need to consider regulations surrounding:

Understanding these regulations will help you identify any potential constraints to your proposed development, any direct financial implications to allow for, and any extra timeframes that need to be factored in.

It is important to consider these areas as part of the early feasibility/concept phase of your project, so that you can plan your development fully informed and avoid unnecessary obstacles as your development application progresses.

For further advice or support contact the DEW Strategic Policy and Impact Assessment Team on 08 8463 4854 or email

Native vegetation

Does your proposed development involve clearing native vegetation?

Any proposed development must seek to avoid or minimise clearing native vegetation. This includes killing it, removing branches or limbs, burning it, grazing or flooding, or any other activity that will cause substantial damage to the vegetation.

If clearing native vegetation is necessary, permission is required.

To find out what’s required:

  • Use the interactive guide to learn if and how you need to apply for permission, and whether approval is required from the Native Vegetation Council.
  • If Native Vegetation Council approval is required, engage an accredited consultant to undertake an assessment of the vegetation that will be impacted by the proposed development.

If permission is granted to clear native vegetation, restoration or an offset might be required.


Does your proposed development impact on native wildlife or habitat occupied by native wildlife?

If you are considering undertaking any wildlife management you must first consider wildlife management principals and where appropriate low intervention methods as described on Living with Wildlife.

Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 a permit is required to:

  • take (catch, restrain, euthanase, destroy) protected animals or the eggs of protected animals
  • keep and/or release (move, relocate) protected animals or the eggs of protected animals.

It is an offence to undertake these activities without a permit.

Interaction with any animal in South Australia must be compliant with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1985.

Where habitat disturbance or loss is unavoidable and foreseeable, the department may allow wildlife management activities under a permit.

The department may issue wildlife management permits for activities such as trapping and releasing, relocating within the home range or destroying wildlife, where protected fauna:

  • are causing, or likely to cause, damage to the environment or to crops, stock or other property (including built structures)
  • constitute a safety risk or hazard to people or industry
  • are or are likely to be impacted by development or habitat disturbance.

To find out more or apply for these permits see manage, control or destroy native animals.

Threatened species and ecological communities

Does the proposed development directly or indirectly impact threatened species and/or ecological communities?

To find out what is, or might be, present in your development site:

  • Conduct a database search. Start with NatureMaps and the Commonwealth’s Protected Matters Search Tool.
  • Engage a consultant to survey for species and communities using appropriate timing and survey methodology.

Your proposal may require approval under the Commonwealth EPBC Act.

State heritage

Are there direct or indirect impacts to a State Heritage Listed place or area on the project site?

To find out whether the site involves a heritage place or area:

  • Conduct a heritage database search. If a heritage place or area is identified, contact your local council for further advice.

Is the project likely to involve any form of disturbance to the land or seafloor that may impact on a historic shipwreck?

To find out whether the site is in the vicinity of a historic shipwreck:

  • Use NatureMaps. If the project site is within 500m of an historic shipwreck, seek advice from Heritage SA.

Ground and surface water

Does your project involve accessing ground or surface water? This could include:

  • accessing prescribed water resources
  • applying for a water allocation license
  • undertaking water-affecting activities, such as interfering with the flow of a creek bed
  • excavations that affect the flow of water across a landscape, such as building a dam
  • constructing a well.

To find out whether your development is within a prescribed water area:

Permits may also be required for other impacts on water resources. Check the DEW website for further information.

River Murray

Is your project located in the River Murray floodplain or tributaries area?

To find out:

If your proposed development is within this area, your development application may be referred to the Minister administering the River Murray Act 2003. Make sure that your project is consistent with the object and objectives of the Act.


Will your project directly or indirectly impact sensitive coastal features, such as sand dunes, or will it be exposed to coastal hazards like flooding, erosion, sand dune drift or acid sulfate soils?

Coastal developments need to comply with the Coast Protection Board’s policies.

To find out what is required:

  • Refer to the Coastal Planning Information Package, paying particular attention to:
    • Definition of coastal land (p9).
    • Coast Protection Board Referral Checklist (p37).
    • Information Requirements – Development on Coastal Land Checklist (p38).


Is your project in a marine park marine park zone or does it impact on the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary?

To find out:

Access and use of Crown land and national parks/reserves

Is your development on public land (Crown land or in a national park/reserve)? If so, you will need approval for short-term and/or ongoing access to the land. Development approval does not constitute approval for short-term or ongoing access to public land and vice versa.

To find out whether your proposed development is on public land:

If your proposal is on public land, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • Crown land – Depending on the type of development, there are various types of Crown land tenures that may be considered, such as purchasing Crown land, leasing, licensing or easements.
  • Parks and Reserves – If your development is in a national park or reserve, your request to access and use public land may need to be considered within the department’s Unsolicited Proposals process.

The National Parks and Crown Lands Program will help identify any early considerations that your development may need to address and will assist in determining the most appropriate tenure type. Land tenure assessments can often be undertaken simultaneously with development assessments.

For further information or assistance contact your local Crown Land Office in the first instance.

Other considerations

When scoping a project, developers might like to consider principles of sustainable development, where applicable.

To find out more about how to take these into account, read:

Download this webpage as a .pdf