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Guidance Note: Implementing the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne’s Growth Corridors

The State Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has released a Guidance Note for the implementation of approved Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) for Melbourne's Growth Corridors.

Clio Gates Foale (Senior Ecologist) at Ecology and Heritage Partners provides a summary of the document (below). She outlines what the development industry needs to be aware of during the approval and construction phases of urban development in Melbourne's Growth Areas.

                        
Guidance Note for the implementation of approved Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) for Melbourne's Growth Corridors           
 

 

Adjustments to conservation area boundaries  

Essentially, the applicant must demonstrate that the adjustment is:

  • Necessary and has no feasible alternatives
  • Has written agreement of other landowners affected
  • Maintains biodiversity values
  • Does not impact the ecological functioning and effective management of the conservation area
  • Results in no net loss of conservation area


Management of Conservation areas

Two key documents to be developed:

1.  Conservation Areas Concept Plans (CACPs) and
2.  Conservation Interface Plans (CIPs)

1. Conservation Area Concept Plans set out the conservation objectives of each conservation area and show the locations of areas suitable for land-uses compatible with conservation, such as passive recreation and water management.

2. Conservation Interface Plans
plans showing the layout of the interface area that must be established around conservation areas in accordance with the requirements of the BCS. The plan will describe the land uses within 30m of the conservation area.


Uses or development within conservation areas

 

Uses may include (but not limited to) water management assets, passive recreation infrastructure (BBQs and picnic facilities), location of river, creek crossings, boardwalks and viewing platforms, sealed roads, paths, parks, and open space.  In summary the applicant must demonstrate that the use is:

  • Necessary and has no feasible alternatives
  • Avoids significant biodiversity values, and its future use or management will not impact biodiversity values
  • Avoids areas of strategic importance
  • Consistent with any Conservation Area Concept Plan
If a use results in net loss of conservation area it must be approved by the Commonwealth Minister. 

The process for determining whether proposed uses or development in conservation areas require Commonwealth approval are provided in Appendix 3.

Proponents proposing uses or development in conservation areas must complete the application form available on DELWP’s website.  The application form and any queries on the application process should be submitted to:  msa.habitatcompensation@delwp.vic.gov.au

Criteria for retaining native vegetation or scattered trees

 

A reduction in habitat compensation fees may be approved by DELWP if a landowner increases retention and protection of scattered trees, and native vegetation patches beyond what is required by the BCS. Vegetation proposed to be retained must meet specified criteria in order to be exempt from habitat compensation fees.


For further information
contact Clio Gates Foale on 9377 0100 or email enquire@ehpartners.com.au