Clearing for environmental works

Vegetation management laws allow the clearing of native vegetation for necessary environmental clearing. This purpose allows clearing for a range of activities, many of which provide an environmental or social benefit.

Clearing regrowth (Category C or Category R) vegetation

To clear regulated regrowth vegetation for an environmental clearing activity, you will need to comply with either the Category C or Category R accepted development vegetation clearing codes.

Clearing remnant (Category B) vegetation

Clearing of remnant vegetation for minor environmental works may be conducted under the accepted development vegetation clearing code Managing necessary environmental works (PDF, 924KB). This code covers the clearing of vegetation in a category B area that is necessary to:

  • restore the ecological and environmental condition of land
  • prepare for the likelihood of a natural disaster
  • remove contaminants from land.

Areas cleared under this code must be re-vegetated or left in a condition that will regenerate. If your intended environmental clearing is beyond the scope or practices of the accepted development vegetation clearing code, or your plan for the area does not involve re-vegetation with native species, you will need to obtain a 22A relevant purpose determination from us and then apply for a development approval.

An application for a development approval for environmental clearing can be for one of the following purposes:

  • restoring the ecological and environmental condition of land
  • diverting a channel or stream or re-directing the flow of water for a section of a stream
  • preparing for a likely natural disaster to minimise or avoid impacts on infrastructure and human life (exempt clearing work also allows clearing to prevent impacts from events such as falling trees or limbs and fire)
  • removing contaminants from land.

Clearing to remove contaminants

Contaminants can include gases, liquids, solids or energy sources, including radioactivity and electromagnetic radiation. The practice of removing contaminants is regulated under other Acts and frameworks; the vegetation management laws apply only to tree clearing.

Exempt clearing work is also available for remediation of contaminated land that is recorded in the environmental management register or contaminated land register.

Rehabilitating a cleared area

In certain circumstances, the assessment process may require you to rehabilitate a cleared area, where clearing cannot be avoided and has been minimised. A plan that outlines management actions that will be undertaken to rehabilitate or restore certain environmental values impacted by the proposed clearing will also be required.

Resources for lodging an application

For further information and guidance on lodging an application for necessary environmental clearing, refer to the guideline: Necessary environmental clearing under the Vegetation Management Act 1999: A guideline for development applications.

How to apply

For enquiries about application requirements and to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting, contact the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).

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