Environmental Due Diligence is a key tool in managing risks prior to, or at the outset of projects. Key legislation, as it applies to the industry, includes the Environmental Protection Act 1986, Town Planning and Development Act 2005 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
An environmental due diligence assessment defines opportunities and constraints associated with the development. The assessment can vary from a simple desktop study (Geographic Information Systems mapping) to more detailed assessments which include site visits, soil sampling and profiling. The due diligence investigation methodology may include:
- A detailed site inspections of the project area by an Environmental Scientist;
- A review of historical and current land uses using title information, historical aerial photography and interviews with persons knowledgeable of past and current landuse activities;
- Review of previous environmental approvals and current zonings using town planning information and interviews with people knowledgeable with respect to these aspects;
- Review of the available information on topography, geology and soil profiles, surface hydrology, groundwater, contaminated sites, acid sulfate soils, flora and fauna, and Aboriginal and European heritage sites. Databases and digital mapping information are used to provide an understanding of the features of the site and potential actions or requirements relating to the features identified.
- Preliminary environmental assessment of the site including assesment of existing vegetation and flora information such as declared rare flora and threatened ecological communities, conservation status of fauna, drainage and nutrient management, potential soil and groundwater contamination from prior land use acid sulphate soils and provision of potential management options.
- Review of the environmental policies relevant to the subject and the provision of advice regarding potential opportunities or constraints to be managed as part of the planning process.
- Liaison with Town Planners regarding any environmental requirements relevant to the site.
- Provision of advice and development of a checklist for the environmental approval process required to facilitate the development on the subject site.
The results of the due diligence assessments can inform the following:
- Environmental impact assessment reports and approvals under State and Federal legislation.
- Scheme amendment and rezoning environmental assessments, structure planning environmental assessments, including biological surveys (flora, vegetation and fauna) e.g. Black Cockatoo habitat assessment.
- Weland assessment and delineation, fauna management, rehabilitation and offset identification, acid sulfate soils investigations, preliminary and detailed contamination investigations and contaminated site remediation.
- Management Plans.
Acknowledgement: 360 Environmental Pty Ltd