High Environmental Values Mapping

High angle drone shot of Kooloonbung Creek

Purpose of HEV mapping

The primary purpose of the High Environmental Values (HEV) map is to ensure impacts to HEV areas are avoided and minimised in all planning decisions. 

It guides development planning to reduce future land use conflict and enables the restoration and rehabilitation of biodiversity values in strategic locations. 

The HEV map allows interrogation of a single dataset. It identifies environmental criteria and values and reflects current statutory and planning policy. 

Areas mapped as HEV have the following known criteria: 

  • Biodiversity Values
  • SEPP (Resilience & Hazards) 2021
  • Core Koala Habitat
  • Nationally Important Wetlands
  • Over-Cleared Mitchell Landscapes
  • Vulnerable Estuaries and ICOLLS
  • Estuarine Saltmarsh Macrophytes
  • State Heritage Register
  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Estate

The following criteria can also apply to potential HEV: 

  • 70% Cleared & Threatened/Endangered Ecological Communities
  • NSW Bio Net Species - Threatened & Migratory
  • Potential Koala Habitat
  • Old Growth Forests

North Coast Regional Plan 2041

The HEV map is consistent with the objectives of the NSW Government North Coast Regional Plan (NCRP) 2041

The Plan notes that the North Coast will need at least 40,000 more homes in the next 20 years. NCRP requires consideration to conserve biodiversity values through ‘avoid, minimise, mitigate and offset’ hierarchy. 

Councils are required to: 

  • Prepare Local Strategic Planning Statement 
  • Identify HEV assets at planning proposal stage through site investigations
  • Apply conservation zones and Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements to protect HEV land where appropriate 

Using the HEV map

The map is intended to be used at a property scale. 

It can assist planning consultants and developers in identifying lands that contain HEV and to prepare planning proposals. Potential HEV lands will need proponent verification through ecological survey.  

All HEV identified should be zoned for Conservation under the Local Environment Plan. Residual impacts to HEV must be offset under the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS), the Development Control Plan (DCP) or another framework as identified.   

The HEV Maps can also assist Council in planning decisions, such as: 

  • Ensuring marine environments, water catchment areas and groundwater sources are protected from development impacts
  • Protecting HEV, fauna corridors, native vegetation and threatened fauna species (particularly our koala population)
  • Undertaking strategic planning activities to support the delivery of the community’s vision and meet the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993 and required legislation.

Fieldwork and analysis

Verification may be required to assess the presence of HEV within a subject site, particularly when Potential HEV is identified. 

Over-cleared and old growth vegetation, koala habitat, threatened species and vegetation communities, and important habitat, identified by the HEV layers, may trigger the need for field verification through ecological survey and further desktop analysis.

Updates to the HEV Mapping

Because the mapping is using predominately existing state Government mapping like the Biodiversity Values Maps, these are updated at least a few times per year, updates will be required.  

HEV data is updated annually by Port Macquarie Hastings Council.  

For the most up-to-date data, please visit the NSW SEED data sharing portal

High Environmental Values (HEV) map