In the majority of cases, surveying of native vegetation was completed during preparation of the Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) and/or during the time-stamped mapping project. Refer to the Native Vegetation Precinct Plan (NVPP) or Native Vegetation Removal Plan in the relevant Precinct Structure Plan, which will show native vegetation that may be removed (subject to sourcing offsets) and native vegetation that must be retained and protected.
Your application must clearly demonstrate that the proposed development will not impact native vegetation to be retained. Concept plans must demonstrate compliance with the relevant Native Vegetation Precinct Plan, i.e. clearly show native vegetation to be removed and native vegetation to be retained, including the required protection measures. Typically, vegetation protection requirements are as follows:
- Scattered trees: A radius of twice the canopy distance
- Patches of native vegetation: at least 2m buffer around the patch of vegetation
- Trees within patches: Tree Protection Zones in accordance with the Australian Standard for Protection of Trees on Development Sites; AS4970; 2009 - a distance of 12 times the diameter of the tree measured at 1.4m above the ground. The maximum TPZ is 15m and the minimum TPZ is 2m: Tree Protection Zones - TPZ / SRZ Calculator
If your project area falls within the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS; DEPI 2013), then native vegetation was mapped during the time-stamped mapping project. Native vegetation within a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy conservation area must be retained and protected. Native vegetation outside conservation areas may be removed, unless a Native Vegetation Precinct Plan or Native Vegetation removal Plan specifies otherwise.
Development in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy area is subject to the payment of habitat compensation fees to DELWP for the removal of native vegetation and/or the removal of habitat for threatened species (e.g. Growling Grass Frog, Striped Legless Lizard, Golden Sun-moth, Spiny Rice-flower). You can estimate your habitat compensation obligations using the Estimate your obligations online tool.
If your project area falls outside the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and outside a Precinct Structure Plan, then a site assessment must be conducted by a qualified ecologist. Your planning permit application must be accompanied by a report by a suitably qualified ecologist and follow the Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (DELWP 2017). You must demonstrate efforts taken to avoid and minimise the removal of native vegetation and include an Offset Strategy. Refer to the applicant’s guide.
Applications to remove native vegetation that is designated to be retained in a Native Vegetation Precinct Plan: if your proposal includes the proposed removal of native vegetation which is designated to be retained in a NVPP, then you must apply for a planning permit to remove that native vegetation under clause 52.16 of the Melton Planning Scheme. Under clause 52.16, you must meet the application requirements outlined in the Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (DELWP 2017).
Note: Council does not generally support the removal of native vegetation that is designated to be retained in a Native Vegetation Precinct Plan. Your application must outline measures taken to avoid and minimise impact on native vegetation, outline site constraints and explain why the removal of native vegetation cannot be avoided.