First standard biodiversity certification for Yass Valley housing development

Applied for the first time in New South Wales, biodiversity certification will provide up-front protection for the environment at the Woodbury Ridge Estate housing development near Sutton.

White Box Yellow Box Blakely's Red Gum Woodland

Allison Treweek from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said the standard certification under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 gives everyone certainty on how biodiversity values will be protected while achieving an economically viable housing estate.

‘What makes bio-certifications different is that the required environmental protections and offsets are in place over the entire property, before the development is approved,’ said Ms Treweek.

‘Rather than assess the potential environmental impacts on each block or site, the entire proposed development now has overarching guidelines on how the biodiversity and natural values of the area will be managed.

‘All areas of potential development are clearly defined and mechanisms to manage biodiversity are already in place, providing certainty to developers and the local community,’ Ms Treweek said.

The Woodbury Ridge Estate will see the development of up to 66 residential lots, as well as the retention of 130 hectares that contain biodiversity values such as the critically endangered box-gum woodland and superb parrot habitat.

Julie Rogers from Yass Valley Council worked in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment to develop the biodiversity certification for the approved housing estate at 2090 Sutton Road, Sutton on the NSW–ACT border.

‘The biodiversity certification gives everyone involved confidence as to which environmental values need protecting, and how the proponent will do so now and as the estate develops,’ said Ms Rogers.

‘The certification is a much more streamlined way to do things. It’s a way of protecting our natural environment, while at the same time providing housing for our growing community.’

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