What is Biodiversity Assessment

What is Biodiversity Assessment

A biodiversity assessment is a measurement of certain specified ecosystem components, the most common components that are used as indicators (or surrogates) of a species or area’s conservation status. Assessing regions of high biodiversity, for example, is essential not just for deciding where to focus conservation efforts but also for measuring species communities and potentially discovering new species.

Biodiversity assessment is quite similar to Biodiversity monitoring, except that monitoring is done throughout time to collect data on trends and potential future trajectories of populations, species, or communities in the natural system being examined. In reality, an evaluation establishes the baseline data from which monitoring is built. While there are established Early Warning Systems for a variety of natural events such as earthquakes, catastrophic fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, and volcanoes, there is no similar system for biodiversity.

Why biodiversity assessment is important

Humans value biodiversity for a variety of reasons that force them to assess it continuously. In fact, most biologists believe that biodiversity has inherent worth, meaning that each species has a value and a right to exist regardless of whether or not it is recognized to provide value to humans. The five main benefits of biodiversity to humans, according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s biodiversity book, include:

Economic value

Humans rely on biodiversity for the provision of raw materials for consumption and industry. Since the economies of most developing nations are more strongly reliant on natural resources, industries linked to biodiversity such as agriculture, forestry contribute a greater proportion of their total GDPs.

Ecological life support

Biodiversity ensures that ecosystems operate properly, supplying oxygen, clean air, water, pollination of plants, insect control, wastewater treatment, and various other ecosystem services to humans.


Most recreational activities rely on the uniqueness of biodiversity. Activities such as birdwatching, camping, hiking, and fishing would be non-existence in the absence of biodiversity. For this reason, the assessment of ecosystems that attract tourism is of significant importance.

Cultural conservation

Most cultures are intimately linked to biodiversity via the expression of identity, spirituality, and an appreciation for the aesthetics of nature. Indigenous Australians, for example, have deep ties to and responsibilities to biodiversity that stem from their spiritual beliefs about animals and plants.

Scientific value

Until recently, research and development techniques for medicinal, agricultural, and industrial applications of biodiversity were vastly different. Individual samples of plants or microbes can now be kept in culture and tested for possible application in any of these sectors thanks to modern biotechnology. Through biodiversity assessment efforts, scientists are studying organisms’ characteristics to create new antifouling chemicals and new genes and proteins for industrial application.

One such application is the discovery of Taq polymerase, a heat-stable enzyme developed from a thermophilic bacterium found in Yellowstone hot springs that allow scientists to amplify particular DNA target sequences derived from minute amounts of DNA in a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

How to conserve biodiversity

Even though many ecosystems’ biodiversity is in jeopardy, there are numerous things we can do to assist mitigate the damage. Below are ways of how to conserve biodiversity:


Governments have the authority to regulate what happens to ecosystems inside their borders. Legislation that preserves natural ecosystems by prohibiting the development, natural resource extraction, or other forms of human exploitation has a significant effect on the preservation of natural biodiversity. Furthermore, legislation protecting particular species, such as the Endangered Species Act in the United States, assist in safeguarding species that have already been endangered.

Reduction of invasive species

On intent or by mistake, invasive species are often introduced to new areas every day. To reduce the number of invasive species accidentally transported, aircraft, ships, and cargo must be carefully inspected prior to being offloaded in a new country. Furthermore, humans should not introduce new kinds of animals or plants to an area without first contacting ecologists familiar with the area.

Restoration of habitats

When human activities have negatively impacted the environment, attempts can be made to restore it to its natural condition. In this case, restoring the plants and animals that were naturally present or dominant in an area is the appropriate action to take. Research has shown that this may help restore biodiversity. The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is one example of restoration efforts.

Put a stop to climate change

The effects of climate change are terrible for all living creatures, animals, and microorganisms on the planet. Climate change is caused by using a lot of fossil fuels and other human activities that alter the ecosystem.

To take care f biodiversity, it’s important to transition away from fossil fuels and instead embrace clean, renewable energy and environmentally-friendly products. It will take a global effort to counter the consequences of climate change.

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How does agriculture help the environment

How does agriculture help the environment

Did you know that over half of the earth’s arable land is used for agriculture? Well, it is, and farmers use a lot of the earth’s space to feed us. Their relationship between agriculture and environment and sustainability is more significant than you think.

Those involved in agriculture and land management jobs have worked hard to increase their profits while being kinder to the land. Innovations such as no-till, low till farming do not disturb the land as much as traditional farming does. Nor does it leach all the nutrients from the soil, which leads to lower fertilizer use for crops.

Low till, no-till farming

Because the land is not tilled or just lightly tilled, there is less erosion, and because there is less erosion, fewer nutrients leach from the soil. The soil also tends to stay in place because it is less disturbed. This practice helps with erosion.

Soil erosion, unabated, can cause the demise of entire cities in the event of flooding. Planned agriculture and land development can help prevent erosion by deciding how and where crops are planted, and water is directed.

Less water usage

An added benefit of no-till farming is that it uses less water. All farmers are concerned about water, where they will get it, and how they will use it. Planning agricultural sites and how the land and water will be managed, prior to development. Why agriculture is important for our environment can mean more environmentally sound farming that is more sustainable and profitable.

New technologies for farmers

Farming today is as much about science as it is tractors and heavy equipment. Australia’s farmer’s use of technology and modern farming techniques have led to higher productivity, crop yield, environmental safety, efficiency, and safety.

The collection of soil and water data has led to better control of water and fertilizer usage, giving farmers a better idea of what is going on with their land. Early detection of soil or water issues can help them prepare for contingencies. And as we all know, a farmer needs every aid available when pitting themselves against the elements and their vagaries.

GPS guidance systems

Today’s tractors have guidance systems that can give them finite parameters for where they are to go. This ability offers farmers a great deal of control over where their crops will be planted and how much area they till. Using GPS to guide the tractor and limiting crops to certain areas saves fuel and keeps farmers in more control of their land and crops.

Crop rotation helps the environment

Crop rotation has been used since the beginning of recorded time because even the ancients understood that certain plants required certain nutrients from the soil. Thus, crop rotation allows the soil to recover from the uptake of minerals of a particular crop. Letting plants go wild, on occasion, can help fields rejuvenate and allow nutrients to replenish with little help from man.

Why agriculture is important for our environment has led to no-till wheat crops planted alternately with canola, which has shown they produce higher yields of wheat. This practice is a prime example of where crop rotation is beneficial to the soil, the farmer, and the environment.

Cover crops for the health of your land

Cover crops are used to minimize nutrient loss from the soil while increasing the level of organic matter. Crops such as clover and hairy vetch can increase nitrogen in the ground, while other crops, like wheat, fix carbon in the soil.

By using this method of land management, farmers can decrease the use of commercial fertilizers on their crops.  Overuse of fertilizer can be harmful to the environment when applied at high levels.

Managed pest control

Yes, pests can be managed, and many farmers use beneficial pests to control those that are bad for the crops. By creating habitats for these helpful bugs, farmers do not need to rely as heavily on pesticides.

Another natural form of pest control is companion planting. By introducing plants that insects do not like, with those they do like, farmers can limit the number of bugs that attack their plants.

Why agriculture is important for our environment gives us fuel from waste

Biofuels can be made from the waste of vegetative matter. Plants like sugar cane work immensely well at making biofuel due to its high sugar content.

Producing biofuel is just one more of the many ways that farmers work toward protecting our environment by being good stewards of the land.

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How does composting benefit the environment

How does composting benefit the environment

How Does Composting Benefit the Environment?

The environment is a hot topic nowadays, with signs of the impact humans have on it everywhere. You can take steps at home to reduce the negative effect you have on the environment. For instance, you could opt to compost. So, what’s the environmental impact of composting? Specifically, why is composting good for the environment? Let’s discuss.

What Is Composting

Before discussing why is composting good for the environment, you should first understand what composting is. Composting means you place your organic waste in a designated spot in your yard. The waste could include food scraps, lawn waste, and other biodegradable materials, including but not limited to, vegetables, fruits, coffee filters with coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, cotton rags, and fireplace ashes. Shredded newspaper, paper, and cardboard are also safe to place in a compost pile.

The material will gradually break down as a result of the bacteria that form in the pile.

You’ll also need to add water frequently but only in small amounts. The bacteria in the pile require water for decomposition. You have to make sure you don’t over-water the compost heap because this could slow down or stop the process.

You want to keep oils, meats, and dairy products out of your compost. These substances aren’t bad for the environment. However, they release an odor and attract pests.

Fewer plastic bags will end up in the landfills when you choose to compost. Plastic is a substance that takes many years to break down, which means it remains in landfills for quite some time and will just continue to accumulate as more and more are brought into the landfill.

On a larger scale, compost has been used to restore wetlands and forests. If soil is highly contaminated, compost can be used to restore it.

Environmental Benefits of Composting

Compost helps the environment by creating nutrient-rich soil and keeping all of this waste out of landfills.

Firstly, all organic waste that you typically put in landfills will create methane. This potent greenhouse gas traps heat in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. When you compost at home, you reduce those methane emissions.

Secondly, you reduce how much waste ends up in landfills, which are quickly filling up. Therefore, you’re doing your part in waste management through composting. You’re keeping as much of the waste out of the landfills as possible.

Compost can also be used as a natural fertilizer, although you’ll need to use other fertilizer since it doesn’t contain enough phosphorus. However, compost has the three key ingredients necessary to be called a fertilizer — potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

In order for soil to grow plants, whether you plant them or not, it must remain moist for a period to allow the plant to obtain this moisture. When you choose to compost, the soil that you use the compost on will retain the moisture better.

When you use compost on soil, you’re keeping plant disease and pests at bay. That means that the plants in that area will grow healthy and strong, so they can continue to release oxygen, which is necessary for humans and animals alike.

If you’re planning on using compost to fertilize your garden, it only takes two to five weeks before it’s ready. That means it doesn’t take long for you and the environment to reap the rewards of a compost pile.

Benefits to You

The environmental impact of composting is great, but you can also benefit from composting personally and not just because you’re reducing your impact on the environment.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compost promotes higher yields of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, you benefit from more fresh produce, and you’ll have more of it. Additionally, you’ll save money on buying fertilizer since you can use your compost as a natural fertilizer. You’ll also decrease the need for manmade fertilizers. Since compost can help keep pests away, you also won’t have to treat for them as often. This saves you money and reduces the need for chemicals.

You could also save money on your trash removal bill if your company asks you to pay per bag. You’ll have fewer bags, which means you’ll pay less money.

Now, you have a better understanding of why is composting good for the environment. In addition, when you do it right, you won’t have any foul odor, nor will you attract unwanted pests. Plus, the benefits don’t at the environment. While you’re helping the environment, you may find that you’re saving yourself money and decreasing your need to use chemicals that can be dangerous, especially when you inhale them in high amounts.

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Rainwater harvesting system benefits

Rainwater harvesting system benefits

Rainwater harvesting is the process of trapping and storing rainwater that flows from rooftops or other similar surfaces for use in irrigation and other household and commercial purposes. When it rains, water collected in gutters can flow through drainage pipes, downspouts, and into storage facilities such as barrels, tanks, or dams. Rainwater harvesting is becoming more popular as environmental awareness grows. Currently, in certain areas of the world, the water is critically limited and rainwater harvesting is what saves the day. In this guide to a Rainwater harvesting system, you’ll learn how rainwater harvesting is important for the environment and how it’s helpful in residential settings.

Residential rainwater collection systems

The key advantage of the rainwater harvesting strategy is that it is accessible to every household, from basic rain barrels to integrated rainwater and irrigation systems. Why do we have to use treated water on our lawns and gardens? We shouldn’t! Used rainwater is excellent for many water-efficient applications.

You will reduce your reliance on municipally treated water by utilizing a residential rainwater harvesting system for any or all of your needs. For sure, rainwater harvesting is an approach that is both good for the environment and helps people because it promotes self-reliance.

The benefits of a residential rainwater collection system

  • Free water: It can’t be better than this… Water that comes from the sky and lands on your roof is practically free. Everything you have to do is collect it.
  • Helps to conserve water: Harvesting rainwater is a good way to encourage people to appreciate their personal or household water usage. It will force them to conserve the supply that is there as rains may be unpredictable.
  • Reduces reliance on premium water: By harvesting rainwater, the requirement for imported water can be decreased. For instance, using harvested water for chores such as cleaning and irrigating prevents you from spending a lot on city water.
  • A good backup: Rainwater is excellent for many applications and excellent as a backup supply, especially during emergencies.
  • Healthy plants: With rainwater, your plants will have a good supply of clean and chlorine-free water, thus promoting healthy growth.
  • Used for non-drinking purposes: Rainwater can be used in household chores such as washing clothes, dishes, bathing, and flushing the toilet. Indeed, this conserves a significant amount of treated water that can be used for drinking, cooking, etc.

How does rainwater harvesting help the environment?

Do you care about the environment? If you do, then you know that everything you do now determines the integrity of the environment you’ll be leaving for future generations. Any time you harvest rainwater, you make a direct contribution to your environment, even if you don’t realize it instantly. Of course, you know that it reduces your water bill, but how does rainwater harvesting help the environment? Read the points below to get a clear picture:

  • Through water harvesting, stormwater run-off is well managed, thus preventing soil erosion, flooding, and poor water quality in water sources because of contamination.
  • Substantially altered weather conditions due to green space destruction are not unfamiliar. The Spanish Peninsula and the western United States have had many cases of deforestation and urbanization, and the consequences have been dire. Ever heard of a heat island effect?. It is your rainwater harvesting system that can maintain the water cycle when in such environments.
  • The use of wells and water from rivers to irrigate your crops or lawns may seem to be a cheaper way compared to city water. What you don’t know is the as you use these sources, you deplete the groundwater supply. Using harvested rainwater replenishes the groundwater supply.
  • The municipal water treatment processes and supply consume a significant amount of energy that can be saved if most people adopted rainwater harvesting methods.
  • It’s no coincidence that plants prefer rainwater over some other sources of water. Rainwater is not only free of the salts, chemicals, and minerals present in other water sources; it also has the optimum pH balance and nitrate distribution, ready for uptake by your thirsty garden.

Enjoy the elegance of a thriving plant and soil ecosystem as the environment reaps the advantages of a healthy garden, such as clean air, carbon capture, pollinator habitat, and more! Though routine maintenance is necessary, simple rainwater harvesting systems can be built and maintained by the majority of people. Rainwater collection and storing can be done in both rural and urban settings, and it has many advantages for people, cities, and the environment. So, don’t hesitate; if you have a thorough understanding of how rainwater harvesting helps the environment, align with Mother Earth and start gathering rainwater today.

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Why land management is important for sustainable lifestyle

Why land management is important for sustainable lifestyle

Sustainability is a concept that is often thrown around without full understanding. Some believe maintaining a sustainable lifestyle is more personal than a communal effort. The reality, however, is the opposite. It is impossible for individuals to have sustainability in their personal lives without giving attention to sustainable land management (SLM). 

What is sustainable land management?

Sustainable land management is a procedure that relies on knowledge to positively steward the land, water, and other environmental resources. The central motivation of SLM is to meet the needs of humans while also maintaining ecosystems and other services that contribute to the overall quality of life. 

Sustainable land management is essential to meeting the demands of a growing population. It becomes difficult to feed more humans if the land does not receive enough water to nurture the vegetation responsible for producing the food used to nourish individuals in a region. Good management, then, becomes the key to preventing drought and maintaining positive living conditions. 

Sustainability and climate change

One of the benefits of sustainable land management is that the practice provides a better environment. Still, developing and maintaining good practices 

Maintaining good nurturing practices to keep the land fruitful a century ago was generally a matter of cultivating the ground and making small changes here and there to see the best results. Now, the stakes are higher due to climate change

As the seasons become more unpredictable, it becomes necessary to carry out more aggressive cultivating practices. Farmers may also need to take additional steps, such as purchase more equipment, to ensure their crops are protected during inclement weather. Such is especially the case in winter and summer when rain and fires may flood or burn vegetation. 

One of the best ways to combat climate change and, therefore, contribute to good sustainable land management practices is to be mindful of the amount of water used when cultivating the soil. Watering systems that leave a lot of water behind do not positively contribute to sustainability efforts. Such is the reason why it is best to invest in a system that moistens the soil without running over. 

Another way to combat climate change is to refrain from using toxins when farming. Toxic chemicals ultimately harm the soil, which leads to reduced crop. Fewer humans can enjoy the nutrients that come from Earth if vegetation is kept from growing due to a corrupt foundation. 

Many farmers are progressively moving away from toxic chemicals used to preserve crops. Instead, they are finding ways to naturally keep pestilence away from their vegetation.

How to get to sustainability

The benefits of sustainable land management are based on four principles. The first concept revolves around institutional support from government entities. Small business owners and larger corporations are more inclined to find less toxic means of production if given incentives that work to increase their income. Thus, it is up to government officials to make land management more attractive. 

The second principle emphasizes the importance of participation. It is not enough for the government to offer incentives that reward sustainability practices. Farmers and companies must also actively cooperate with the goals that such incentives support. 

Another principle of sustainable land management stresses the importance of using the ecosystem to integrate the use of natural resources in society. This principle requires governments and communities to fully support farmers through both social and economic practices that make it unnecessary for farms to use toxic chemicals to preserve crops. 

The final principle of SLM gives precedence to stakeholders who are involved in all levels of land sustainability. This idea of management places the responsibility to find solutions and better practices on the shoulders of policymakers as well as experts in technology and business.

Management for sustainability is the future

With the climate crisis growing, it is more important now than ever to address and lean into the benefits of sustainable land management. Individuals and communities can positively contribute to the practice by conserving water, rehabilitating and re-purposing land, and cultivating natural resources in a way that leads to more growth. 

Companies also have a responsibility in SLM to adopt production practices that do not harm the environment in the long run. Sustainable land management is much like a puzzle that, when having all the pieces in order, delivers positive and long-lasting results to humans, animals, and the environment as a whole.

Sustainable living is essentially impossible without proper land management. Such is the reason why governments and private corporations must work together to find solutions to the problems that prevent environmental growth. 

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How bush fires affect our environment

How bush fires affect our environment

Bushfires are fire outbreaks that take up a large part of the forest area cause The impact of forest fire on climate warming to be devastating. They are common in Australia; a region that has been shaped due to this phenomenon. These fires last for long periods that leave a site arid and ravaged.  

Plants, animals, and human beings are affected by bushfires directly and indirectly. The displacement of millions of animals living in the areas affected by bushfires is common and has led to the extinction of various species.

The impact of forest fire on climate warmingdisplaces plants, animals, and human beings occupying the region disturbed by bushfires. When animals are on the run, they cannot go about their regular duties, and they die in large numbers. Beautiful varieties of plants are lost to these fires, while others become less productive. Regarding the impact on humans, fire chases them away from their homelands, rendering them homeless refugees. Bush fires also make it impossible for these people to go to their farms or engage in any means of production.

The impact of forest fire on climate warming comes when recognizing the correlation between wildfires and climate change. Their effects on the environment are far more destructive than the damage we can see. The weakening of the earth’s surface, ozone layer, and environmental habitability are all common with the presence of bushfires. In adapting to such environments, plants will probably evolve into fewer quality genes to strive in such an environment. Animals will find no food to eat in such arid areas, and humans will suffer from the lack of edible plants and wildlife.

Causes of Brushfires 

There are a number of ways bushfires are created; some even started by human beings. This shows ignorance and carelessness in regards to our environment and overall health.

Human Carelessness 

It is common for human beings to cause harm to their environment without knowing it. However, when this harm is a result of carelessness or disinterestedness, it becomes all the more malicious. Most fire outbreaks have been traced to human negligence; either by careless use of campfires, cigarettes, or uncontrolled machinery. These and many more have consistently been the cause of bushfires. Also, unchecked bush burning for planting purposes has contributed to wildfires that destroy so many things.

Harsh Weather Conditions

Sometimes, due to extreme weather conditions, certain regions are exposed to bushfires. Heavy wind and dry lightning can start a fire in one part of the forest, gradually circulating in other parts. Due to the low humidity of some areas, it is easy for any little thing to trigger a fire. The weather in the regions affected by bushfires is usually harsh, contributing to the spread of the fire. 

Climate Changes

Climate change is a change in the weather conditions of an area due to specific influences. The climate of a particular region determines the weather conditions of that region over time. When there is a disruption in atmospheric conditions, this change may cause damage to live things in the area. Bushfires are one of these possible effects of climate change. When the intensity of heat becomes unusual, the area becomes prone to bushfires.

How Wildfires Can Affect Climate Change

Although climate change can cause wildfires, they also affect climate change. This is because the intense heat generated from wildfires destroys the earth’s protection against excess ultraviolet rays. Wildfires lead to the weakening of the ozone layer, leaving the environment in a porous state. A continuous flow of wildfires will undoubtedly lead to much higher effects such as climate changes.

The issue of wildfires and climate changes all come down to the level of eco-consciousness in humans worldwide. Due to a lack of knowledge, so many attitudes lead to increasing wildfires and climate changes—carelessness humans show for the ecosystem. So many people do not take the environment seriously, and as such, they continue to create damage to the environment. Through preventive measures, many of the wildfire cases could be prevented and their after-effects salvaged. 

However, so many people are not interested and do not care to follow the guidelines prescribed by the government. Bushfires affect us in so many ways, and over a long period, the damages may eventually cause more harm to the environment. The environmental conditions affect genetic structure and development in humans. When the environment is under attack, humans should know that they are under attack too.

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Accredited Assessor under NSW Biodiversity and Conservation Act

Accredited Assessor under NSW Biodiversity and Conservation Act

The NSW Biodiversity and Conservation Act prescribes that all projects must assess the impacts on biodiversity. Subject to thresholds this assessment identifies the need to either provide or trade Biodiversity Offset Credits to account for the no net loss of biodiversity provision of the act.

They are a few key provisions that project planners need address:

  • Assessments can only be undertaken by Accredited Biodiversity Assessors. AEP has this resource on staff.
  • Projects approved by Local Councils under their Part 5 provisions have the choice opt in or out of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme
  • Private and other commercial developments are bound by the scheme
  • All projects regardless of size and relative impacts must address the 5 Part Test of significance set out in the Act
  • An Accredited Assessor will also determine the initial impacts and circumstances and provide advice on the need for the application of the BAM process and the provisions of the Act
  • Significant penalties apply for breaches of the Biodiversity and Conservation Act in NSW

The BAM and associated assessment and reporting processes have evolved considerably since inception. They now underpin the operation of what has become the commercial trading platform for credits under the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

Access Environmental Planning is actively engaged as both and advisor and as a Accredited Assessor support this important function of Environmental Assessment.

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Cultural Heritage Assessment and Management is a Key Function of Access

Cultural Heritage Assessment and Management is a Key Function of Access

The application of thorough due diligence in the survey for and the management of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is an essential element of all environmental planning. There is a requirement to undertake and demonstrate due diligence in the survey and assessment of sites when considering Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

It is critical that any assessment or survey be undertaken and documented by a person with extensive experience, knowledge of and preferably tertiary qualifications relating to cultural heritage. It is important to note that you do not necessarily need an archaeologist for the application of the due diligence process. However, an archaeologist may well be required for the development of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report (ACHAR) and an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit in NSW (AHIP).

On 1 st July 2020 the responsibility for compliance in NSW was moved to Heritage NSW. This department has its own dedicated compliance unit and is proactively inspecting sites where cultural heritage is likely to be an issue.

Cultural Heritage Assessment is a component of Access Environmental Planning core business. We are currently engaged on several assessment projects and dealing with ACHAR and AHIP projects.

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Access Environmental Planning<br>Works In Environmentally<br>Sensitive Locations

Access Environmental Planning
Works In Environmentally
Sensitive Locations

A large component of our work and advice is delivered within fragile environments. These include sensitive riparian zones, fragile dry and semi-arid areas, areas with steep topography and places rich in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. A sensitive location may not just be referring to physical environmental factors. It can also include local politics, personal belief systems and often a divided or even hostile community.

The Access Environmental Planning highly skilled and experienced team provides exceptional quality and comprehensive outcomes in its work in sensitive locations. Our progressive and final reporting is readily accepted by government agencies and has been regularly acknowledged as being a benchmark for the provision of detail and quality in document presentation.

This standard is evidenced by consistent engagement by Local Government, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the private sector

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