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Ecological Research & Management

HabbitatBrett Lane and Associates

Native Vegetation Planning Permits

BL&A is a specialist ecological consultancy that can assist you in meeting the requirements of planning permit applications for the removal of native vegetation.

The regulatory framework for dealing with applications to remove native vegetation in Victoria was introduced by way of a planning scheme amendment on 20th December 2013. The details of these reforms are contained in Permitted clearing of native vegetation - Biodiversity assessment guidelines, an incorporated document in the planning scheme which replaces the Native Vegetation Management Framework.

Copies of this document can be obtained here

The significant changes brought about by these reforms are presented below.



Overarching objective

No net loss in the contribution made by native vegetation to Victoria’s biodiversity

Net gain in the extent and quality of native vegetation

Incorporated documents in all Victorian Planning Schemes

Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines

Native Vegetation Information Management system


Victoria’s Native Vegetation Management Framework

Commonly used terms

Risk-based assessment pathway
Strategic biodiversity score

Habitat importance score for rare or threatened species


Bioregional conservation status
Conservation significance

Best and remaining 50% habitat

Units of losses and gains

Biodiversity equivalence units based on habitat condition score

Habitat hectares and conservation significance

Offset requirements

Specific or general offsets in biodiversity equivalence units

Risk-adjusted multipliers

Habitat hectare offsets

Conservation significance multipliers

The key points are:

  • The overarching objective is to have no net loss in the contribution made by native vegetation to Victoria’s biodiversity.
  • Planning permit assessments for projects will be based on risk-based assessment pathways, which depend on the area of vegetation (i.e. <0.5 ha, 0.5 – <1.0 ha or 1.0 ha or more) or number of scattered trees to be removed (< 15 or >15), as well as the project location risk (A, B or C) based on DELWP statewide mapping. For more information click here
  •  Site-based habitat hectare assessment is only required for moderate and high risk-based pathways.
  • Offsets are either specific or general offsets and are risk-adjusted, depending on the risk-based assessment pathway. For more information click here
  • A new online Native Vegetation Information Management system (NVIM) has been established by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), including:
    • Native vegetation location risk
    • Strategic biodiversity score
    • Native vegetation condition score
  • Habitat importance mapping has been prepared by DELWP for all Victorian rare or threatened species
  • Decision guidelines relate specifically to the risk-based pathways.

For more information on how the native vegetation assessment reforms affect your project, contact us here

Note that all approval decisions made after the 20th December 2013 planning scheme amendment must be made in accordance with the new guidelines. Transitional arrangements will be implemented whereby permit applications submitted before the date of the amendment can be assessed under the new regulations, with support from DELWP. Please contact us if you require any assistance with existing applications.

Furthermore, these reforms do not apply to Matters of National Environmental Significance.  Impacts on such matters must be assessed as per existing requirements under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (see: