After a long consultation process, the Victorian Government has made changes to the native vegetation removal regulations. These changes were gazetted on 12 December 2017 and take immediate effect.

All Biosis consultants have attended information sessions run by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) covering the new regulations. We have already completed several assessment reports using the new regulations and have found the transition to the new regulations to be reasonably straightforward. However, we are advising our clients that there is currently a delay in obtaining final offset calculations for detailed assessments while the Department releases the new version of the EnSym software used to assist this process.

The main difference that our clients will notice is that the former Low, Medium and High risk-based pathways have been replaced with Basic, Intermediate and Detailed assessment pathways. The thresholds determining the pathways have also been updated. The previous BIOR (Biodiversity Impacts and Offset Requirements report) is replaced by a Native Vegetation Removal Report (NVR report). There are also substantial updates to the DELWP Native Vegetation Information Management (NVIM) website with improved capabilities and the addition of offset credit calculations.

For undertaking assessments, there are new assessment guidelines, which replace the Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines (2013). These are called the Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (2017).

One of the major changes to the assessment process is the consideration of large trees, both within a patch and as scattered trees. This now requires all large trees to be measured and mapped within an area where native vegetation removal is proposed. The presence of large trees also contributes to determining the assessment pathway along with the extent of native vegetation removal. Our field survey and data collection processes have been updated to reflect this change.

For all new assessments, the new regulations will apply. For assessments that are already in progress, we have received confirmation from DELWP regarding the transitional arrangements in place and can provide assistance to determine if the transitional arrangements apply to your project. Where relevant, we are advising our existing clients individually if the changes affect any of their current projects.

Please feel free to contact one of our consultants to discuss the changes.

If you would like to speak with one of our ecological experts about the recent regulatory changes, please contact us at our Melbourne head office on 03 8686 4800 or melbourne@biosis.com.au.