What is a Certified Practicing Ecological Consultant ?

This is a Ecological Consultant who undertakes work in  NSW and is accredited under the scheme by the Ecological Consultants Association of NSW.  This accreditation scheme has been developed in consultation with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.  Members who are accredited Ecological Consultants must have at least 5 years full time Ecological Consulting experience in the last 5 years.  Consultants generally have much more than this and as part of the accreditation process consultants have to demonstrate their experience and adherence to the code of ethics.  Applications are reviewed by a panel and professional development is a condition of continuing practice accreditation.

So whether you require a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report, 5 part or 7 part test, or any other flora or fauna or ecological assessment, choosing a CPEC provides you with a highly qualified professional for your Ecological Assessment.

With a CPEC in our practice with full time experience since 1992 why not give us a call for your next Ecological Assessment.  As Environmental Consultants based in Sydney we cover all areas of NSW. We are also accredited assessors under the accreditation scheme by the NSW Government for implementation of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act which came into force in August 2017.

NEWS – Biodiversity Offsets Scheme

Western Sydney interim designated areas to be extended for 12 months

The following western Sydney local government areas have been declared as Interim Designated Areas (IDAs) for a further 12 months: Camden, City of Campbelltown, City of Fairfield, City of Hawkesbury, City of Liverpool, City of Penrith and Wollondilly. An amendment to the Biodiversity Conservation (Savings and Transitional) Regulation 2017 is being progressed to defer commencement of the biodiversity offsets scheme for local development in these local government areas until 25 November 2019.

The relevant Councils have been advised and provided with some information addressing common questions around assessment and offsetting processes for development applications in an IDA.

Biodiversity offsets scheme commencing for local development for former IDA areas

On 25 November 2018, the biodiversity offsets scheme will commence for local development in the Cessnock, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Central Coast and Coffs Harbour local government areas, and in the West Dapto Urban Release Area in the Wollongong local government area.

The biodiversity impacts of new development applications (or modifications) submitted from 25 November 2018 in these areas will be assessed in accordance with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2017.

So What Does this Mean for our Clients

If you are located in one of the Interim Designated Areas you can still lodge under the old legislative requirements for your Flora and Fauna Reports including the 7 Part Test of Significance.  If you are in an area where the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is already in place or is commencing you will be required to determine if you are having a significant impact through the 5-part test of significance and whether you require a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report for offsetting.

As certified assessors we are here to assist our clients with sound advice to achieve their project objectives.

As experienced Sydney based Environmental Consultants we also offer a range of other services includingVegetation Management Plans, Bushland Regeneration, Contamination Assessments (SEPP 55), and Effluent Disposal Reports.  These types of assessments are generally required for most developments and as such when contacting our company you have one point of contact to provide professional advice and services for many of the assessments you will require.

Give us a call today to discuss your project on 1300 320 507.

Bushland Regeneration Sydney – by Anderson Environmental Pty Ltd

Anderson Environmental Pty Ltd undertake a range of Vegetation Management Plans – Sydney and Bush Regeneration – Sydney.  The attached video shows a recent project at Kellyville (The Hills Shire Council Local Government Area) which was undertaken as part of a residential development subdivision.  The Vegetation Management Plan was written by Anderson Environmental Pty Ltd for this housing development and Anderson Environmental Pty Ltd also undertook the Bush Regeneration and Vegetation Management on the site.  Fauna habitat supplementation and restoration was also undertaken as this is a critical part of the management and restoration of any functional ecosystem.  We have been involved in Ecosystem Restoration and Bushland Regeneration since 1992 and are proud of our accomplishments in restoring habitat to offset impacts from developments.  This project involved the restoration of an area to join up areas of bushland to increase its viability and integrity and to make it a larger functional patch of vegetation.  The project also involved the stabilisation of a batter adjoining a subdivision road and the planting of this batter with native species endemic to the adjoining bushland.  This batter area however had to be planted to enable it conform to part of the asset protection zone and as such it had to have a reduced fuel loading.  The use of native species for such a batter stabilisation provides habitat for fauna and also a buffer to the adjoining bushland to protect it from edge impacts whilst also performing the function of slope stability erosion control.  As Sydney Environmental Consultants we undertake a range of services for our clients which integrate together functionally to manage the potential conflicts of development.  Our services range from Flora and Fauna Reports, Effluent Reports, Vegetation Management Plans, Contamination Reports, Bushland Regeneration, Bushfire Report and reports to comply with the new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports and the new 5 part-test – Section 7.3 Biodiversity Conservation Act).

Please give us a call to discuss your next project or next potential land purchase to obtain advice on any or all of the above services.

Why is council asking me for a Contamination Report for my Development Application?

As Environmental and Contamination Consultants (Sydney) we are often asked by clients “why are council requesting a contamination report ?”.  Why do I require a Preliminary Site Investigation under SEPP 55 ??  What is a Detailed Site Investigation ?? and why do I require one for my development application.  Well as a follow up to our recent articles on contamination we are hoping this series regarding contamination in NSW and contamination in Sydney will inform our clients of the real unseen risks of contamination.  These recent articles which we previously examined along with the current article on contamination by the Sydney Morning Herald outlines where contamination may occur in relation to PAFS (from firefighting foam).

This was developed by 3M and the chemical is believed to have resulted in many cancer cases in the town of Oakdale in Minnesota where there was a manufacturing plant. These chemicals were manufactured by Fortune 500 company 3M for half-a-century, with the two best known of the family called perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  PFOS was the key ingredient in 3M’s popular fabric protector Scotchguard, and was used widely in firefighting foams, food packaging and metal plating. The company also manufactured vast quantities of PFOA for sale to Dupont to produce Teflon cookware.  PFOS was the key ingredient in 3M’s popular fabric protector Scotchguard, and was used widely in firefighting foams, food packaging and metal plating. The company also manufactured vast quantities of PFOA for sale to Dupont to produce Teflon cookware.

Fairfax media has reported that there are that at least 90 sites across Australia, including 25 in NSW with 10 in Sydney, 16 in Victoria and 15 in Queensland, are under investigation for elevated levels of the contaminants, linked to a slew of health effects including suppression of the immune system, reproductive effects, interference with hormones and some forms of cancer. The sites stretch from Bundaberg to Wangaratta, from Karratha to Botany Bay.  The link to the above article indicates the locations of the sites in NSW with one being located on a school in Winmalee where fire crews practiced previously.  The use of this chemical has been banned in most countries around the world however unfortunately Australia seems to be one of the only countries in the world not to have banned the chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). At least 171 countries have banned the chemical around the world including the USA, China and Europe.  It was added to the Stockholm Convention in 2009 however nearly 10 years later Australia has still not banned the chemical.

Both PFOS and PFOA are very persistent in the environment and contaminate soil, groundwater and have been found in animals on 95% of the planet based on blood analysis.  Around sites contaminated with this chemical people have found banks are withholding loans in the area and valuers are not coming to site when they find out it’s in the exclusion zone.  As such, and in addition to the associated potential health risks of such contamination events, land values suffer making it more difficult to sell and lowering the price.  So why has council requested a Preliminary Site Investigation becomes quite clear when you consider that a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Preliminary Site Investigation) is used to identify potential risks of contamination to a property.  Groundwater contamination is only one of the potential types of contamination.  Soils are often contaminated by previous use of a site or from illegal dumping which often occurs around larger cities and urban areas (particularly western Sydney).  As Environmental Consultants based in Sydney we come across contamination situations quite often.  As part of any purchase (just like a home inspection) it is well worth obtaining the services of an experienced environmental consultant to undertake an assessment of the property to determine the potential risk of contamination by way of a Phase 1 Preliminary Site Investigation report.  If there is an identified risk of potential contamination then a Phase 2 Detailed Site Investigation should be undertaken to determine if there is contamination present, it type, extent and recommended remediation.  In many countries these reports are extremely common and are linked to the mortgage application process and are requested by the banks before providing finance.  The banks protect their investment by only providing mortgages to customers purchasing a “clean” site.  Australia lags behind somewhat as this is not often a request by banks or thought of by purchasers of property.  It is however a critical part of Due Diligence with any property purchase particularly if it is a farm, disused piece of land or former industrial site or if the history of the site is uncertain.  The impacts of purchasing a contaminated piece of land can include significant health impacts and significant financial losses through clean up costs.

It is unfortunate that Australia is lagging behind in the identification of the risks of Land Contamination which have the potential to seriously impact the health of persons living on or near to such sites.  Contact our qualified and experienced Environmental Consultants Sydney to request a quote on a Contamination Assessment (SEPP 55), Preliminary Site Investigation or Detailed Site Investigation.  We have much experience as Environmental Consultants in the Sydney areas and throughout NSW so when you require an environmental assessment please give us a call.

 Sources: 

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/toxic-secrets-where-the-sites-with-pfas-contamination-are-near-you-20180616-p4zlxc.html

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/pfos.aspx

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-12/documents/ffrrofactsheet_contaminants_pfos_pfoa_11-20-17_508_0.pdf

https://www.smh.com.au/national/clean-it-up-nsw-calls-on-turnbull-government-to-fix-toxic-crisis-20180713-p4zra3.html