Environmental Conservation Zone

What is the Environmental Conservation Zone Initiative?

Environmental Conservation zoning allows landowners with areas of high conservation value to receive reductions in Council rates. The initiative has been established by Council to reward landowners who have retained and maintained bushland and wetland. Council recognises that nature conservation on private land is essential to maintaining the quality of life all residents of the Shire and Serpentine River catchment. To be eligible, landowners must demonstrate to Council that their bush land and/or wetland area is of high conservation value by meeting the criteria outlined below.

What are the benefits of being in the Environmental Conservation Zone?

Areas zoned Environmental Conservation in the Local Planning Scheme are rated at half the rate of Rural Zoned land (i.e. 50% rate reduction) where the original zoning of the land is Rural. Where original zoning is not Rural, rate relief will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Landowners with areas of high conservation value can seek advice on environmental planning and management from the Shire Environmental Officer and the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Community Landcare Centre.

How do I rezone my property to the Environmental Conservation Zone?

Areas eligible to enter into the Environmental Conservation Zone can be nominated by the landowner or by Council. Landowners must state in writing that they agree to rezone their land and Council must establish that the land meets the criteria for environmental conservation zoning before the formal process of rezoning can proceed. The formal rezoning process involves changing the zone name and provisions for that land within the Local Planning Scheme from the previous zone type to the new zoning of Environmental Conservation. (e.g. Rural to Environmental Conservation).

Council may consider covering the cost of rezoning fees and associated advertising and will provide other assistance where possible. The rezoning process requires the preparation of a Local Planning Scheme amendment report and an environmental management plan which documents both what is on the land and what management practices are to be used by the owner to protect these environmental values. A template for environmental management plans can be obtained from the Shire Environmental Officer. Council staff will provide advice in relation to the preparation of an environmental management plan. The Local Planning Scheme amendment report and environmental management plan are considered by the Shire and the Western Australian Planning Commission before being approved by the Minister for Planning.

Once the land is rezoned, Shire staff and the Community Landcare Centre may provide advice on the implementation of the environmental management plan. When the land is sold, new owners may be able to make variations to the environmental management plan. However, because the conservation zoning remains, changes will only be permitted if they ensure the site’s continued protection.

Criteria for Selection of High Conservation Areas

These criteria have been developed to guide the selection of bushland and wetland areas which are eligible for Environmental Conservation Zoning.

Condition – the area and its vegetation are in a relatively undisturbed condition, Considerations include: weed impact, fire history and past land uses.

Representation – the level of protection provided to the natural communities present in the subject land within reserves and covenanted private lands elsewhere.

Adequacy – the likelihood that natural communities and processes will be able to sustain themselves. Considerations include the size of the conservation area (usually needs to be greater than 10 hectare), its area to perimeter ratio and intensity of management that is being committed.

Landowner commitment and ability – the landowner must demonstrate intent, commitment and ability to conserve the environmental values on the subject land.

Special consideration may be given to areas which contain:

  • ‘threatened ecological communities’;
  • rare or restricted plant species or ecological communities;
  • breeding habitat for Declared Rare or Priority Listed Fauna; and
  • important wildlife corridors between other areas of conservation value.

Local Planning Scheme text related to the Environmental Conservation Zone

The objectives within the Local Planning Scheme relating to the Environmental Conservation Zone are attached below:

 Environmental Conservation Zone

  • To identify land set aside for environmental conservation purposes.
  • To provide for the preservation, maintenance, restoration or sustainable use of the natural environment.

All provisions and development requirements within Local Planning Scheme No.3 relating to the Environmental Conservation are available at the following link:

Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale Local Planning Scheme No. 3

Further information

For further information about the Environmental Conservation Zoning initiative contact the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, Environmental Officer on 9526 1111, in writing to 6 Paterson Street Mundijong WA 6123 or submit a request online.

The information contained here is a guide only. It is recommended that the advice and assistance of the Planning Services Team be sought in conjunction with any enquiries concerning the use of land within the Shire. Before undertaking any development, please discuss your intentions with Council. If you need to make an application your time and money can be saved if you are thoroughly prepared.