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Logan's environmental values more visible with new online mapping

Published: 4 August 2015

Logan's environmental values more visible with new online mapping
The new environmental offsets estimator tool.

The value of protected vegetation in the City of Logan is now much more visible to the community, thanks to a new online estimator introduced this week as part of the new Logan Planning Scheme.

Logan City Council Parks, Health, Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson, Councillor Trevina Schwarz (Division 11), said the planning scheme included measures for a range of environmental factors – including the protection of wildlife habitat, biodiversity and native vegetation – while also balancing community and economic needs.

"Many residents feel a connection to the city's natural aspects, and the local environment is certainly something Council is also keen to protect as much as we can," she said.

"Under the planning scheme, property owners can take action to compensate for the environmental costs of their development, such as planting trees elsewhere on their property or another property, or by making a financial contribution, which we'll use to support the environment through Council initiatives.

"We use offset charges as a way of mitigating when people can't avoid clearing protected vegetation, however, it is Council's position that the loss of vegetation arising from development be avoided or reduced before that is considered."

Cr Schwarz said the new online estimator – the first of its kind in Australia – would help property owners estimate the financial cost of clearing vegetation upfront, which should lead to better environmental outcomes.

"Landowners can now draw a shape within our online mapping to determine the environmental values of their land, which will allow them to assess the likely cost and environmental impact on a tract of land before a development application is even lodged.

"By using the tool, landowners will be able to minimise both their costs and the environmental impact of a development very early in the planning stage by trialling scenarios where there is highly-significant vegetation on their land."

After using the online tool, customers will receive an automated report with an estimate of any offset charges, as well as details about why offsets apply and their importance to protecting the environment in the city.

"We see this as a way of starting the conversation and then property owners can contact us for more information as required," Cr Schwarz said.

"The reports are designed to be an information tool, and are not formal quotations or invoices.

"Environmental offsets can be complex from a policy point of view. The online estimator aims to simplify that for all of our landowners."

For more information, phone Council on 3412 4491 or email environment@logan.qld.gov.au