Creeklines, native vegetation, and habitat trees are protected under the Shire's Local Planning Scheme No. 4. A habitat tree is a native tree, dead or alive, with a hollow or substantial trunk diameter. Trees with a diameter over 50cm may be protected under state and federal legislation, as habitat for threatened species such as black cockatoos. Where there are many potential habitat trees, the Shire prioritises the mapping and protection of trees with a diameter of 80cm or greater.
Most development affecting the natural environment will require planning approval. However there are exemptions for certain types of work (e.g. installing perimeter firebreaks to comply with bushfire requirements) or for smaller lots, where retaining bushland is not practical.
If you are unsure whether your plans will require formal planning approval, it is best to contact the Shire's Planning and Environment Service on 9290 6740. Clearing, or earthworks affecting watercourses without approval, may be an offence under the Planning and Development Act 2005 or other legislation. You can request a Shire Environmental
Asset Inspection to identify key environmental features on site, before paying for surveys or drawing up detailed plans.
Planning application forms (and Keeping of Stock management questionnaire) are available from the Planning Service section.
Some work may require State Government approvals as well as local government planning approvals. Clearing of native vegetation may require a clearing permit from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). Works in or near a watercourse (creekline or wetland area) may require a beds and banks permit from DWER. Clearing or development that affects protected native species, or the Helena River floodplain, may require separate approvals from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Clearing of federally protected habitats (including banksia woodlands and black-cockatoo habitat trees) may require referral to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.