Landowners in the Litchfield Municipality are currently permitted to clear up to 1 hectare of their allotment without approval. Clearing must not result in soil erosion or water quality problems on adjoining or downstream allotments. Clearing of more than one hectare of land (which also includes selective clearing) in zones H, A, RR, RL, R, CP, CN, RD, WM and on unzoned land requires a development Permit from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. Landowners are recommended to contact the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics prior to clearing more than 1ha of land.
The Northern Territory Government's Land Clearing Guidelines (2010) play a role in guiding good land development practice in the Northern Territory by establishing standards for native vegetation clearing. The guidelines recognise that decisions to clear native vegetation are significant because clearing will lead to at least some change in landscape function. The Guidelines seek to manage clearing in a way that promotes the greatest possible net benefit from use of land cleared of native vegetation.
The Guidelines work at two levels. First, they provide procedural and technical information to assist landholders and land managers to meet their statutory responsibilities for environmental management in relation to native vegetation. Second, they provide Guidance to Consent Authorities on the range of matters they must consider when making decisions about individual applications and their obligations to inform applicants about the reasons for decisions.
The aim of the Guidelines is to ensure that native vegetation management:
- facilitates sustainable industry and development in the Northern Territory through broadscale;
- plans for retention and removal of native vegetation;
- recognises and fosters the essential role played by native vegetation in sustaining every aspect of Northern Territory life;
- maintains the essential character of Northern Territory landscapes and its resilience to climate change through retention of native vegetation; and
- contributes to national targets in carbon management by managing native vegetation to optimise sequestration of carbon.
The Guidelines are recognised formally under the Planning Act and referenced in the NT Planning Scheme. Applicants who wish to clear native vegetation must demonstrate how they have considered the Guidelines. The Consent Authority must have regard to the Guidelines and ensure that an application to clear native vegetation is consistent with them. The Pastoral Land Board has adopted these Guidelines so they also apply to land clearing on pastoral leases.
The Pastoral Land Board publishes additional Guidelines specific to land clearing on pastoral leases and these must also be addressed in applications.