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Environmentally Sensitive Areas

 Environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) are classes or areas of native vegetation where the exemptions for clearing vegetation under the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 (Clearing Regulations) do not apply.

The current list of ESAs was gazetted on 8 April 2005.

Native vegetation clearing must be authorised by a clearing permit under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (the EP Act), unless an exemption applies. There are two types of exemptions:

  • for clearing assessed and authorised under other statutory processes set out in Schedule 6 of the EP Act
  • for generally low-impact and routine maintenance clearing activities listed in regulation 5 of the Clearing Regulations.

The exemptions under the Clearing Regulations do not apply within ESAs, so a clearing permit is required. A clearing permit is not required for clearing under the Schedule 6 exemptions, even if it is within an ESA.

If you are uncertain whether your proposed clearing is within an ESA or if a clearing permit is required, see our ESA fact sheet or contact the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s on (08) 6364 6600 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ESA web diagram 2

1

These exemptions mainly refer to clearing that is authorised through other legislation and includes:

  • proposals assessed under Part IV of the EP Act
  • subdivision approvals under the Planning and Development Act 2005
  • clearing to comply with a local government bush fire notice given under the Bush Fires Act 1954
  • grazing of stock on a pastoral lease under the Land Administration Act 1997.

2

These exemptions mainly refer to activities that are routine maintenance and/or low impact, with some items subject to a five-hectare-per-year limitation. Examples of exemptions under the Clearing Regulations include clearing for:

  • the lawful construction of a building
  • fire hazard reduction
  • constructing or maintaining fence lines

3

See the clearing permit system map to determine if the area is an ESA.

How do I use the clearing permit system map to view ESAs?

  1. Go to the clearing permit system map.
  2. In the search box under ‘map’, enter a property address:
    • use shortened forms (e.g. ‘St’ instead of ‘street’)
    • enter GPS coordinates instead if desired, by clicking on the cross-hair symbol in the lower right corner of the map.
  3. Select a matching address from the drop-down box to zoom to the property and wait for the layers to load.
    • A transparent green layer shows where ESAs are mapped.
  4. View or remove layers by clicking on the ‘layers’ button in the toolbar.
  5. Turn map layers on or off by clicking the check box next to the layer.
  6. See the layer called ‘Clearing Regulations – Environmentally sensitive areas’ to view ESAs.

Where can I access more information about the ESA classes or areas?

ESA class

Link to more information

Link to dataset

World Heritage Property

www.environment.gov.au/epbc/what-is-protected/world-heritage

www.environment.gov.au/metadataexplorer/explorer.jsp.

Register of the National Estate

www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/register-national-estate

The Register of the National Estate is no longer a statutory list.

www.environment.gov.au/metadataexplorer/explorer.jsp

Wetlands

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/wetlands

www.water.wa.gov.au/water-topics/waterways/what-are-waterways

www0.landgate.wa.gov.au/location-and-innovation-hub/shared-location-information-platform.

Threatened flora/

declared rare flora (old term)

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants

catalogue.data.wa.gov.au/dataset/threatened-and-priority-flora

You can ask DBCA to undertake a data search:

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities#datasearches

Threatened ecological community

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/wa-s-threatened-ecological-communities

catalogue.data.wa.gov.au/dataset/threatened-ecological-communities

You can ask DBCA to undertake a data search:

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities#datasearches

Bush Forever

www.dplh.wa.gov.au/information-and-services/district-and-regional-planning/region-planning-schemes/metropolitan-region-scheme/bush-forever-policy

catalogue.data.wa.gov.au/dataset/region-scheme-special-areas-dop-073

Environmental Protection (Gnangara Mound Crown Land) Policy 1992 

This policy has been repealed.

This policy has been repealed.

Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise) Policy 2002

www.epa.wa.gov.au/policies-guidance/environmental-protection-western-swamp-tortoise-habitat-policy-2011

catalogue.data.wa.gov.au/dataset/epp-2003-western-swamp-tortoise-policy-boundary-dwer-062

Environmental Protection (Swan Coastal Plain Lakes) Policy 1992 

This policy has been repealed.

This policy has been repealed.

Environmental Protection (South West Agricultural Zone Wetlands) Policy 1998

This policy has been repealed.

This policy has been repealed.

Environmental Protection (Swan and Canning Rivers) Policy 1998

This policy has been repealed.

This policy has been repealed.