Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDAR) -Why do I need one?

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Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDAR) are the new kid on the block and if you have not been involved in the preparation of one for a project  it can seem quite complex.  Let us simplify it for you.

Typically the scenario is, you have submitted the Development Application (DA) to Council, but you’ve found out you will need to submit a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR). But what is a BDAR, and why does it apply to your DA?

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A Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) is a legislative requirement under NSW environmental law that assesses:

  1. How a proposed development will impact on native vegetation and biodiversity.
  2. How the developer will propose to avoid, minimise and offset these impacts.

There are two (2) thresholds for when the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) and one more assessment trigger that will determine if a BDAR is required to be submitted with your DA.

The two (2) thresholds are:

  1. clearing native vegetation within an area on the Biodiversity Values (BV) Map or
  2. clearing of native vegetation that exceeds the area clearing threshold.

The Biodiversity Values (BV) Map identifies land with high biodiversity values that are particularly sensitive to impacts from development and clearing.

If the amount of native vegetation being cleared exceeds the threshold area this will also be a trigger for determining whether the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) applies to a clearing or development proposal.

When you request a quote from Travers bushfire & ecology, we will provide an evaluation report from the ‘Biodiversity Values Mapping and Threshold Tool,’ like the images below.

The “Biodiversity Values Mapping Evaluation Report” sets out if the two thresholds for entry into the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme are triggered.

  1. Biodiversity values map trigger

This is a yes or no result based on whether the footprint of the development proposal or clearing activity overlaps with the purple areas marked on the Biodiversity Values Map.

  1. Area clearing trigger.

The area clearing threshold is determined on the minimum or actual lot size of the subject land.

Minimum / actual lot size of land Area of clearing threshold
<1 ha ≥0.25 ha
1–40 ha ≥0.5 ha
40–1,000 ha ≥1 ha
≥1,000 ha ≥2 ha

Therefore, when the area of impacted native vegetation equals or exceeds the ‘area clearing threshold,’ a BDAR may be required for the DA approval. Master Plans that have multiple lots are also treated as a DA where all impacts are counted.

Other things you should know....

Biodiversity Values mapping is not fixed. Every map produced by legislation has a review process.

If you think your land has been unreasonably mapped as Biodiversity Values Land, we can help you review the mapping and see whether you get a benefit by being mapped accurately.

(click here to reach out to us)

Yes. If you have an existing activated approval, then the land previously assessed and approved to be impacted is “excluded” under the clearing threshold. However, this can get tricky because the interpretation of the approvals can be unclear unless there is a stamped “Approved” plan by the determining authority and the approved area of vegetation to be cleared is clearly mapped.

(Click here to reach out – statement.)

We note that Travers bushfire & ecology specialise in minimising the risk of an unviable biodiversity cost or your project. A key method to achieve this is a redesign or what is legislatively called an “avoidance action”. However the accuracy of the base data that you have been provided can be questioned. Accurate field data and correct interpretation makes a significant difference to the outcomes and the bottom line.

What is the third assessment trigger?

A third assessment trigger may come into action if a DA is likely to ‘significantly’ affect a threatened species or threatened ecological community (TEC) based on the “test of significance.” Where minor impacts are considered to be significant in the local context, the determining authority may require you to prepare a BDAR for the assessment.

Does my project qualify for a ‘streamlined assessment’?

Where the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) is triggered, a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR)  may be prepared using a streamlined assessment if certain criteria are met. There are three scenarios that are based on a reduced potential of impacting biodiversity values on:

1. scattered trees
2. a small area
3. planted native vegetation, where the planted native vegetation was planted for purposes such as street trees and other roadside plantings, windbreaks, landscaping in parks and gardens, and revegetation for environmental rehabilitation.

We can let you know if you qualify for a streamlined assessment

My Council says I need an ecological report, is this the same as a BDAR?

Not specifically but we will need to determine whether a BDAR report is triggered or required under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act. We note that an ecological assessment is a type of report requested often when either the project works are ‘minor,’ and the determining authority has determined that your DA can be approved under a much simpler report. We can usually identify this for you in advance in a quote request. 

We prepare four other types of ecological assessments as follows:

Can I hold on to a report and submit it later?

The report must be “finalised” within 14 days of the accredited assessor signing off on it and uploading it for a case assessment. 

Our approach – Avoidance of impact is key!

Avoidance of impact is one of the key tenants of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme in NSW.

However, each site is different. There is always a need to delve into the deeper aspects of what can be undertaken on a site, to maintain ecological functions in a landscape in accordance to the amount of land available for land use.

Travers bushfire & ecology take an approach that is refreshing, cooperative, and solution-based. We have an exceptional track record and provide world-class service. No matter what we do, we always aim to live sustainably and in balance with the environment.

A Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) is prepared in compliance with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act), Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 (BC Reg), and the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM).

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