Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (BOS)
Applications for development (or clearing of native vegetation) must set out how impacts on biodiversity will be avoided or minimised.
Any remaining impacts can be offset by buying biodiversity credits or making a payment to the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
Does the BOS apply to your development?
The NSW government’s Biodiversity Offsets Scheme comprises two parts:
- Part A – Biodiversity credit obligations
- Part B – Stewardship agreements
Part A - Biodiversity credit obligations
Developers and landholders may trigger an obligation in three ways.
Trigger 1: Exceeding the native vegetation clearing threshold.
This table explains the thresholds:
|Minimum Lot Size||Threshold for clearing (the BOS applies if this is exceeded)|
|Less than 1 ha (10,000m2 )||0.25 ha or more (2,500 m2) or more|
|1 ha to less than 40 ha||0.5 ha or more|
|40 ha to less than 1,000 ha||1 ha or more|
|1,000 ha or more||2 ha or more|
Clearing includes (but is not limited to) the removal of any native vegetation associated with the development, including:
- asset protection zones (APZ)
- building footprints.
Check the minimum lot size requirement by visiting LEP map and clicking on the relevant property.
Trigger 2: The property is located on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Biodiversity Values Map (BVM).
Search the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool
Trigger 3: A 'test of significance' reveals an impact to threatened species.
If the area of the proposed development is likely to contain threatened species, communities or habitats, an ecologist must undertake a ‘test of significance'.
The BOS will be triggered if a significant impact is deemed likely.
To find out if this applies to your development, check the NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Threatened Species Test of Significance.
What if the BOS is triggered?
You may have to pay a monetary credit or purchase biodiversity credits.
But first, you need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR), which must accompany your Development Application.
The assessor will calculate a credit value to be paid, which will be recorded in the BDAR.
What if the BOS is not triggered?
Entry into the scheme is not required.
However, a Flora and Fauna Report must accompany any Development Application that includes vegetation removal. This must be prepared by a suitably qualified ecologist and explain why the development does not trigger the BOS.
Part B - Stewardship agreements
Landholders can establish a biodiversity stewardship site on their land to generate biodiversity credits. These can be sold to developers or landholders who need them to meet their own BOS obligations.