Can I clear native vegetation for a residential subdivision?
You can clear vegetation in connection with residential subdivision, associated house sites, roads and other associated infrastructure.
Does this include land under Heritage or Management Agreement?
No you cannot clear for this purpose on Heritage Agreement or Management Agreement land.
Do I need approval?
Yes you need to get approval from the Native Vegetation Council (NVC). We suggest you submit applications for clearance approval and development approval at the same time. For further information, see the Fact Sheet - Residential Subdivision.
What do I have to do?
Make sure that your proposed clearance is within the parameters of this activity.
Consider if there are practical alternatives to clearing. Consider areas for the dwelling on the block that involve no vegetation clearance, or clearing vegetation less significant or more degraded.
Provide written notification of the full extent of the clearance expected to occur in connection with the division of land so that the required Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset can be determined (including the entire clearance footprint at the allotment scale which includes clearance for the dwelling and any associated structures; clearance within 10 metres of a building for maintenance; fences; vehicle tracks; and any additional clearance for fire safety) as individual regulations for these clearance activities will not apply in connection to new subdivisions and must be considered at this stage.
The NVC will assess the clearance proposal for level of risk to biodiversity and whether there are any alternatives that involve no clearance, less clearance or clearance of vegetation that is less significant (or has been degraded to a greater extent than the vegetation proposed to be cleared).
If your proposal is assessed as a ‘low risk’ activity (Level 1 of the Risk Assessment)
Your proposed clearance will be considered low risk if it is for 500m2 or less of vegetation, or 5 or fewer scattered trees. Although in the pastoral areas of the state (i.e. Landscape Regions South Australian Arid Lands and Alinytjara Wilurara), the vegetation proposed to be cleared can be up to 3 hectares.
You will need to provide the following to the NVC:
- an online application identifying the
- regulation that applies to your situation
- measures taken to avoid and minimise the proposed clearance
- number and size of any scattered trees to be cleared
- size of vegetation patch to be cleared
- any previous clearance history
- photographs of the site.
The NVC will assess the information against the Mitigation Hierarchy and the requirements of the regulation (you can see these in detail in the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017). If the NVC is satisfied, the NVC will issue an approval and a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset of $500 will be required.
If your proposal is assessed as a ‘medium to high risk’ activity (Levels 2, 3, and 4 of the Risk Assessment)
If your proposed clearance does not meet the criteria for low risk (Level 1), you will be required to engage an Accredited Consultant to undertake a vegetation assessment of the proposed clearance area. The consultant will prepare a Data Report which must be submitted in addition to the information required for ‘low risk’ applications.
If any of the following escalating factors are identified in the risk assessment, the proposal will be automatically raised to the next level (i.e. 2, 3 or 4) of risk and an SEB offset will be required. If there:
- are trees with a trunk circumference of 50 cm or more (30 cm for the pastoral zone and measured at 1 m above the ground); or
- has been lawful clearance on the property within the last 5 years; or
- is a high likelihood that the vegetation contains or is habitat for a species listed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972or a threatened community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
What are my obligations if I am granted approval?
Clear only after development approval has been granted for the division of land and construction of roads and other infrastructure under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016
Clear within 2 years of approval being granted, unless otherwise specified
Clear in compliance with any conditions that apply which are binding and enforceable against the person to whom the approval is granted as well as subsequent owners and occupiers of the land.
The following clearance activities do not apply independently when in connection with a residential subdivision. These activities must be declared as clearance at the subdivision stage by providing written notification of the full extent of the clearance expected to occur in association with the residential subdivision, and the SEB offset reflecting this accordingly.
The following activities cannot be used in conjunction with residential subdivisions, only on long standing blocks:
- clearance within 10 metres of a building (Regulation 8(1))
- clearance for fences (Regulation 8(14))
- clearance for vehicle tracks (Regulation 8(13))
- clearance for a new dwelling or building (Regulation 12(33)).
You are not permitted to clear for this activity if you are clearing vegetation previously established as a condition of a consent for clearance or under regulation (including a condition in respect of clearance permitted under revoked regulations).