BAM Threshold Tool

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) will require most ecological assessments in NSW to use the new Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM). This single assessment methodology will systemise the assessment of biodiversity values on land and determine the impacts of activities on all biodiversity values through the generation of credits. Credits are a unit of biodiversity that is impacted or offset. Although it is a credit based calculator assessment, the BAM is vastly different to previous calculator assessments such as BioBanking Assessment Methodology (BBAM) and the Framework for Biodiversity Assessment (FBA). Fundamentally, the credits generated by the impact (using the BAM Calculator) will be required to be sourced and secured elsewhere as an offset for the impact. The method of sourcing and securing the credits elsewhere can vary from setting up a Biodiversity Stewardship Site (using the BAM Calculator) with “like for like” credits, purchasing the required credits available on the market, paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund or paying for a Biodiversity Conservation Action.

Development that is subject to the BAM includes development requiring consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) (excluding complying development) and State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure. Development activities under Part 5 of the EP&A Act can voluntarily apply the BAM, however it is not mandatory.

As detailed above, most developments impacting on biodiversity values will require the BAM to be applied, however some projects will be exempt. Exemptions apply to Part 4 only, specifically developments or activities where:

  • the clearing area is within the bounds of the relevant clearing threshold; and
  • the development is not located in an area identified on the “Biodiversity Values Map” and
  • the development is not to be carried out in a declared area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value and
  • the development is not “likely to significantly affect threatened species” using the test of significance in the BC Act

To assist developers determine whether or not the BAM is required, Umwelt have developed the BAM Threshold Tool. Please follow the questions below using your site specific details:

Umwelt currently has four Accredited BAM Assessors and a further three ecologists anticipating accreditation under the BC Act, ready to take up the challenge of a completely revised ecological assessment process. For further detail on our accredited assessors and our BAM services visit our Biodiversity Assessment page, or for comprehensive feedback on how the new NSW biodiversity legislation might affect the project development process in NSW, please contact Travis Peake – Practice Leader Ecology on (02)4950 5322 or tpeake@umwelt.com.au

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