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Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) are declared by the Minister for Environment under section 51B of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act). The current ESA notice was gazetted on 8 April 2005.

Information below and the Clearing Permit System - Map will assist those intending to clear to determine whether an area is an ESA. A Property Interest Report will also provide this information and can be ordered from the Landgate website for a fee. A spatial dataset providing the location of ESAs is available online via the Data WA website (reference code: DWER-046).

It is an offence to clear native vegetation without a permit or in accordance with an exemption.

Exemptions are of two kinds – those that are under statutory authority and listed in Schedule 6 of the EP Act and those for low impact land management practices outlined in the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 (Clearing Regulations).

ESAs are only relevant in the limited context of exemptions in the Clearing Regulations, which do not apply in ESAs. A diagram outlining the scheme of the EP Act as it relates to ESAs is available: Framework for regulation of clearing under EP Act.

For further information on ESAs, clearing permit applications and clearing permits, please contact DWER on 08 6467 5020.

If you are uncertain whether your proposed clearing is within an ESA or whether a clearing permit is required, please refer to the department’s Environmentally Sensitive Areas fact sheet, or contact the department’s Native Vegetation Regulation on (08) 6364 7098 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Individual data sets for ESAs are publicly available as follows:

  1. a declared World Heritage property as defined in s 13 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - available from Australian Government ‘Discover Information Geographically’ website, www.environment.gov.au/metadataexplorer/explorer.jsp.

  2. an area that is included on the Register of the National Estate, because of its natural heritage value under the Australian Heritage Council Act 2003 - available from Australian Government ‘Discover Information Geographically’ website, www.environment.gov.au/metadataexplorer/explorer.jsp.

  3. a defined wetland and the area within 50 metres of the wetland - available from Landgate’s Shared Land Information Platform, https://www0.landgate.wa.gov.au/location-and-innovation-hub/shared-location-information-platform.

  4. the area covered by vegetation within 50 metres of rare (threatened) flora, to the extent to which the vegetation is continuous with the vegetation in which the rare (threatened) flora is located – refer to the “Threatened and Priority Flora” dataset, available from the Data WA website (reference code: DBCA-036). Clause 4(5)(b) applies and the owner, occupier or person responsible for the care and maintenance of the land must have been notified. Notification is in writing from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. A record is kept of the notification.

  5. the area covered by a threatened ecological community – refer to the “Threatened Ecological Communities” dataset, available from the Data WA website (reference code: DBCA-038). Clause 4(5)(b) applies and the owner, occupier or person responsible for the care and maintenance of the land must have been notified. Notification is in writing from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. A record is kept of the notification.

  6. a Bush Forever site listed in “Bush Forever” Volumes 1 and 2 (2000), published by the Western Australia Planning Commission, except to the extent to which the site is approved to be developed by the Western Australia Planning Commission – refer to the “Bush Forever Areas 2000” dataset, available from the Data WA website (reference code: DPLH-019).

  7. the areas covered by the following policies —
    1. the Environmental Protection (Gnangara Mound Crown Land) Policy 1992 - available from EPA website. This policy has been repealed.
    2. the Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise) Policy 2002 - refer to the “EPP 2003 Western Swamp Tortoise Policy Boundary”, available from the Data WA website (reference code: DWER-062).

  8. the areas covered by the lakes to which the Environmental Protection (Swan Coastal Plain Lakes) Policy 1992 applies. This policy has been repealed.

  9. protected wetlands as defined in the Environmental Protection (South West Agricultural Zone Wetlands) Policy 1998. This policy has been repealed.

  10. areas of fringing native vegetation in the policy area as defined in the Environmental Protection (Swan and Canning Rivers) Policy 1998. This policy has been repealed.