When deciding whether to consent to a proposal to clear under the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017, the NVC will look at how you have considered the Mitigation Hierarchy.
The Mitigation Hierarchy calls for proponents to plan their activity in the following order of importance:
Avoid impacts on native vegetation. This must be the first step in your planning. It includes planning to place infrastructure, buildings or other assets in a way that completely avoids impacts to biodiversity. For example, is there a particular location or time of year that you could clear that would avoid damaging native vegetation altogether?
Minimise the duration, intensity and/or extent of impacts on native vegetation (including direct, indirect and cumulative impacts), if clearance cannot be avoided.
Rehabilitate or restore ecosystems that have been degraded at the site of clearance, if adverse impacts cannot be minimised or avoided.
Offset to compensate for any significant residual adverse impacts that cannot be otherwise avoided, minimised and/or rehabilitated or restored, so that there is no net loss of biodiversity. Providing a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset is a requirement under the Regulations for activities that require a risk assessment (see list below).
You must consider the Mitigation Hierarchy as part of any activity to clear native vegetation under the Regulations.
Data Reports prepared by Accredited Consultants must clearly address each of the levels.
Activities requiring a risk assessment
For activities that require the NVC to undertake a risk assessment, you must be able to demonstrate the measures you have taken during the planning stage to avoid or minimise the impacts of your activity.
If, for example, you are not able to avoid clearance, you must be able to explain why, and how you will minimise or offset the impacts, or rehabilitate native vegetation elsewhere.