Environmental Significance Opinions

What is an ESO?

An environmental significance opinion (ESO) is an opinion given by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, the Heritage Council or the planning and land authority, that a proposal is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental or heritage impact. If an opinion is given to that effect, the proposal is taken out of the impact track, unless other reasons apply. The proponent can then submit a merit track development application or consider the exemptions available in the Planning and Development Act 2007.

The items that a proponent can seek an ESO for are outlined in Schedule 4 of the Planning and Development Act 2007, outlined in the table below:

Item

Proposal

Agency

Part 4.2
Item 3(c) or 3(d)

Proposal for construction of a water storage dam—

  • in the river corridor zone under the territory plan
  • on a continuously flowing river in a non-urban zone under the territory plan

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

Part 4.2 Item 11

Proposal that involves storage of the placard quantity of a dangerous substance on land, or in a building or structure on the land, that, immediately before the commencement day, was not registered in the placard quantity register.

Planning and land authority

Part 4.3
Item 1

Proposal that is likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact on 1 or more of the following:

  • a critically endangered species
  • an endangered species
  • a vulnerable species
  • a conservation dependent species
  • a provisionally listed threatened species
  • a listed migratory species
  • a threatened ecological community
  • a protected native species
  • a Ramsar wetland
  • any other protected matter.

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

Part 4.3
Item 2(a) or (b)

Proposal involving—

  • the clearing of more than 0.5ha of native vegetation in a native vegetation area, other than on land that is designated as a future urban area under the territory plan
  • the clearing of more than 5.0ha of native vegetation in a native vegetation area, on land that is designated as a future urban area under the territory plan.

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

Part 4.3
Item 3

Proposal for development on land reserved under s315 for the purpose of a wilderness area, national park, nature reserve or special purpose reserve.

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

Part 4.3
Item 6

Proposal that is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the heritage significance of a place or object registered under the Heritage Act 2004.

Heritage Council

Part 4.3 Item 7

Proposal involving land included on the register of contaminated sites under the Environment Protection Act 1997.

Planning and land authority

Once granted, an ESO is publically notified and valid for 18 months. ESOs can be conditional.

If an ESO is not granted for a proposal, the proposal will be assessed in the impact track and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or EIS exemption application will be required prior to development application lodgement.

Further information is available in the Proponent's Guide to Environmental Significance Opinions.

What is the ESO process?

The following steps outline the ESO process:1. Pre-application meeting between proponent, assessment officers and relevant entities (optional)2. Applicant submits ESO application to Customer Services electronically.3. The application undergoes administrative and technical completeness checks by the Authority. Fee advice is provided to the proponent once documents are deemed sufficient. Note: once the fee advice is paid, the application is formally lodged.4. The Authority refers the ESO application to the relevant agency for consideration (Conservator of Flora and Fauna, ACT Heritage Council or planning and land authority)5. The agency assesses the ESO application and makes a decision.6. If additional information is required, the proponent is sent a request with a timeframe to respond. If the proponent does not provide sufficient information or does not respond within the stated timeframe, the agency refuses to decide the application. The proponent can then submit a new ESO application with requested information to restart the ESO process.7. If the agency decides to give the ESO, the proponent can then consider exemptions or prepare a merit track development application (separate process)8. If the agency rejects application for ESO, the proponent submits a request for an EIS scoping document or an EIS exemption application (separate processes)

An Assessment Officer will perform a 'completeness check' of the documentation against the requirements listed below. The completeness check is to ensure all necessary information has been provided to be able to proceed with lodgement and assessment of the application.

Once a completeness check is passed, a fee needs to be paid before the ESO can be lodged and assessed. The current fees for ESOs are outlined in the Fees and Charges Booklet. In addition, section 138AC of the Act enables the relevant agency to recover costs from an application for an ESO.

Once the fee is paid and the application is accepted for lodgement, the ESO application is referred to the relevant agency. The agency may request further information from the applicant at this stage.

If the agency decides to give an ESO, then the proponent can submit a merit track development application or consider the exemptions available in the Planning and Development Act 2007.

The ESO will be included on the ACT Legislation Register as a Notifiable Instrument (NI). Under section 138AD(6) of the Planning and Development Act 2007, an ESO expires 18 months after the day it is notified.

If an ESO is not given, an EIS or EIS exemption application must be lodged for consideration before a development application can be lodged in the impact track.

What information is required to lodge an ESO application?

To apply for an environmental significance opinion (ESO), the proponent must lodge a completed Application for Environmental Impact Assessment Processes (Form 1M) with the following attached:

  • a statement outlining the objectives of the project and why it is needed
  • a completed Letter of Authorisation form, providing details and signatures of all lessees or land custodians of land to which the proposal relates; a separate form is required for each lessee/land custodian
  • a description of the nature/type of project proposed by providing location map(s) of the project site(s), preliminary design drawings and satellite/aerial photographs
  • a description of the natural conservation values of the site based on the considerations listed in the Proponent’s Guide to Environmental Significance Opinions (not required for an ESO application for Section 4.2 Item 11 or Section 4.3 Item 7)
  • a description of measures within the proposal that seek to avoid and minimise impacts on identified conservation values
  • information on any decision made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in relation to this proposal.

Applications are lodged via email to epdcustomerservices@act.gov.au.

Current environmental significance opinions

ESOs notified in 2019

Notifiable instrument numberTitle ESO given by ESO expiry
NI2019-135Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1 Section 52, Holt – Holt 7-Eleven Service Station) Notice 2019Planning and Land Authority18 September 2020
NI2019-103Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 120, Tennent – Art Installation at Honeysuckle Creek) Notice 2019Conservator of Flora and Fauna31 August 2020
NI2019-104Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Blocks 741, 784 and 851, Gungahlin – Rabbit Eradication at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary) Notice 2019Conservator of Flora and Fauna31 August 2020

ESOs notified in 2018

Notifiable instrument numberTitle ESO given by ESO expiry
NI2018-682Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion - Block 21, Cotter River - Power Cable Works) Notice 2018Conservator of Flora and Fauna7 December 2018 - 6 June 2020
NI2019-5Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 12, Rendezvous Creek – Gudgenby Homestead Remote Power Supply) Notice 2019Conservator of Flora and Fauna10 July 2020
NI2019-6Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Numerous blocks, Belconnen, Molonglo Valley, Weston Creek and Curtin – Evoenergy Transmission Line Replacement) Notice 2019 (No 2)ACT Heritage Council10 July 2020
NI2019-8Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Numerous blocks, Belconnen, Molonglo Valley, Weston Creek and Curtin – Evoenergy Transmission Line Replacement) Notice 2019 (No 1)Conservator of Flora and Fauna10 July 2020
NI2019-11Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 611, Gungahlin – Installation of a Water Trough in Mulanggari Grassland Nature Reserve) Notice 2019Conservator of Flora and Fauna10 July 2020
NI2019-12Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Blocks 62, 221 and 225, Coree – Uriarra Non-Potable Water Main Replacement) Notice 2019ACT Heritage Council10 July 2020
NI2018-647 Planning and Development (Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1639, Belconnen – Installation of Water Monitoring Equipment) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 23 November 2018 – 22 May 2020
NI2018-648 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 18, Booth – Installation of Water Monitoring Equipment) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 23 November 2018 – 22 May 2020
NI2018-649 Planning and Development (Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 12, Molonglo Valley– Installation of Water Monitoring Equipment) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 23 November 2018 - 22 May 2020
NI2018-606 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 66, Kowen and Blocks 680, 681 and 699, Majura – Upper Molonglo River Erosion Control Project) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 1 May 2020
NI2018-558 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 15, Section 121 & Block 1, Section 125 Nicholls – Stormwater Investigation At Schow Place) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 11 April 2020
NI2018-557 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 12, Section 52 Coombs – Pedestrian Movement Network) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 11 April 2020
NI2018-501 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 14 & Block 21, Cotter River – Bendora Dam Right Abutment and Access Repairs) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 7 March 2020
NI2018-486 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 2 Section 67 Kingston – Mixed-Use Development and Associated Works) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 27 February 2020
NI2018-473 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Blocks 851, 784, 741 and 673, Gungahlin – Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves Signage) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 24 February 2020
NI2018-239 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1 Section 20 Braddon – Shell/Coles Express Drainage Works) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 14 November 2019
NI2018-424 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1, Section 47 Mawson – 7-Eleven Sign Upgrade) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 9 February 2020
NI2018-427 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1, Section 52 Holt – 7-Eleven Sign Upgrade) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 9 February 2020
NI2018-425 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 15, Section 127 Wanniassa – 7-Eleven Sign Upgrade) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 9 February 2020
NI2018-426 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 19, Section 28 Braddon – 7-Eleven Sign Upgrade) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 9 February 2020
NI2018-286 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 240 Paddys River –Tidbinbilla Playground Extension) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 29 November 2019
NI2018-240 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 7 Section 12 Deakin – Shell/Coles Express Drainage Works) Notice 2018 Planning and land authority 14 November 2019
NI2018-379 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 7 Section 72 Watson – Justice Robert Hope Park Walking Track) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 16 January 2020
NI2018-332 Planning and Development (Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 221,Coree – Cotter Dam Fence) Notice 2018 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 25 December 2019
NI2018-331 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 363, Paddys River – Cultural Scar Tree Installation) Notice 2018 (No 2) ACT Heritage Council 25 December 2019
NI2018-330 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 363, Paddys River – Cultural Scar Tree Installation) Notice 2018 (No 1) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 25 December 2019
NI2018-221 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 64 Coree – Demolition of Ranger’s Residence) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 3 November 2019
NI2018-183 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 851 Gungahlin – Throsby North and Throsby East Stock Water Infrastructure) Notice 2018 (No 2) ACT Heritage Council 12 October 2019
NI2018-166 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 851 Gungahlin – Throsby North and Throsby East Stock Water Infrastructure) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 28 September 2019
NI2018-165 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 851 Gungahlin – Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve Predator Proof Fence Culvert/Causeway) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 29 September 2019
NI2018-117 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1553 Belconnen – Solar Photovoltaic System Installation) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 5 September 2019
NI2018-106 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 4 Section 64 Bonython – Telecommunications Facility Upgrade) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 August 2019
NI2018-105 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Mechanical Vegetation Removal on Fire Trails) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 August 2019
NI2018-37 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Numerous blocks, Gungahlin – Predator Proof Fence) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 1 August 2019
NI2018-36 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 9, Section 3 Bruce - University of Canberra Health Precinct) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 1 August 2019
NI2018-28 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 78 Coree – Solar Panel Array) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 25 July 2019
NI2018-11

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1, Section 125 and Block 3, Section 157, Nicholls – Crace Odour Ventilation) Notice 2018

ACT Heritage Council

11 July 2019

NI2018-10

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1620, Belconnen – Jarramlee Detailed Site Investigation) Notice 2018

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

8 July 2019

ESOs notified in 2017

Notifiable Instrument number

Title

ESO given by

ESO expiry

NI2017-664 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 71, Molonglo Valley – Molonglo Landscaping Works) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 14 June 2019
NI2017-663 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Namadgi National Park – Old Boboyan Road Upgrade) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 14 June 2019
NI2017-637 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 9, Section 54, Phillip – Phillip Bus Depot Redevelopment) Notice 2017 Planning and land authority 7 June 2019
NI2017-636 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1, Section 125 Nicholls and Block 3, Section 157 Nicholls – Crace Odour Ventilation) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 7 June 2019
NI2017-635 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1, Section 60, Kingston – Mixed Use Development) Notice 2017 Planning and land authority 7 June 2019
NI2017-588 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Numerous Blocks, Tuggeranong – Replacement of Overhead Wires between the Theodore Substation and the Gilmore Substation) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 8 May 2019
NI2017-573 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 29, Section 36, Mawson – Public Housing Units) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 6 May 2019
NI2017-572 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Tharwa Fish Habitat Project Stage 2) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 6 May 2019
NI2017-553 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 71 Molonglo – Molonglo River Reserve Rehabilitation Works) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 April 2019
NI2017-552 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Blocks 1553, 1613 and 1614, Belconnen – Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre) Notice 2017 (No 2) Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 April 2019

NI2017-527

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Blocks 1553, 1613 and 1614, Belconnen – Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre) Notice 2017

ACT Heritage Council

16 April 2019

NI2017-526

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1633, Belconnen – West Belconnen Trunk Sewer Geotechnical Investigation) Notice 2017 (No 2)

ACT Heritage Council

16 April 2019

NI2017-503 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Boboyan Road and Smiths Road Upgrades) Notice 2017 (No 2) ACT Heritage Council 3 April 2019
NI2017-494 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 1633, Belconnen – West Belconnen Trunk Sewer Geotechnical Investigation) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 March 2019
NI2017-493 Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Boboyan Road and Smiths Road Upgrades) Notice 2017 Conservator of Flora and Fauna 26 March 2019

NI2017-471

Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 4, Section 682, Theodore – ACTEW Theodore Fence)

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

28 February 2019

NI2017-444

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 363, Paddys River – Mouat Tree Shelter and Interpretive Structure) Notice 2017

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

18 February 2018

NI2017-443

Planning and Development (Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion –Lawson Residential Estate Stage 2 Urban Development) Notice 2017

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

18 February 2018

NI2017-385

Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 240, Paddys River – Removal of Underground Fuel Storage Tanks

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

20 January 2019

NI2017-380

Conditional Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 71, Molonglo Valley – Molonglo River Reserve Boundary Fence

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

17 January 2019

NI2017-379

Environmental Significance Opinion – Block 851, Gungahlin – Throsby North Walking Track

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

17 January 2019

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