Objective 27 in A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines how the NSW Government seeks to protect and manage biodiversity values across Greater Sydney, from national and State biodiversity conservation legislation to information such as biodiversity mapping. This Planning Priority reinforces the importance of Objective 27 and provides a context to District issues.
Bushland areas protected in national parks and reserves support the District's significant biodiversity, while bushland and remnant vegetation throughout the District's urban and rural areas also provide habitat, help cool the environment and support cleaner waterways and air.
Bushland covers around 48 per cent of the North District 25. Most of this bushland is located within the Protected Natural Area, the major landscape area at the northern periphery of the District, including Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. National parks and reserves in the District protect a number of important ecological communities including the Blue Gum High Forest and the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, and protect vulnerable and endangered species. Figure 20 shows the extent of the District's Protected Natural Area.
Many areas of urban bushland are on public land managed as green infrastructure by councils, while some are on privately owned land.
Urban bushland, close to some of the District's most densely populated areas, supports opportunities for nature-based recreation and enhances liveability. Areas of bushland at the edges of urban neighbourhoods will need to be managed and enhanced to reduce edge-effect impacts, such as pollution and nutrients from stormwater runoff, weeds, domestic pets, litter and unmanaged or informal recreation trails.
For the North District, conservation planning will focus on opportunities to protect and enhance areas of endangered and critically endangered ecological communities outside the Protected Natural Area, including areas of native vegetation close to existing national parks.
A strategic approach to protecting the biodiversity in the North District involves investing in connected bushland corridors and protecting larger pockets of remnant vegetation, as large and connected areas of bushland give the District's wildlife the greatest chance of survival. Councils are also working together to map opportunities to restore and reconnect areas of habitat in established urban areas. This complements the delivery of the Greater Sydney Green Grid. Selected species of trees and understorey plants for parks and street planting in targeted areas supports the movement of wildlife and helps strengthen connections between areas of habitat.
Strengthening the protection of bushland in urban areas will help to conserve the District's biodiversity, preserve its scenic landscape, and enhance its tourist and recreational values. Remnant vegetation should be recognised as an asset that can be incorporated into the planning and design of neighbourhoods; for example, in parks, school grounds and as street trees.
Bushland in the District's rural areas will be protected and managed through place-based planning and incentivised as potential biodiversity offsets.
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 provides a framework and tools to avoid, minimise and offset impacts on biodiversity through the planning and development assessment process. There are a range of tools available to protect biodiversity on private land, including biodiversity stewardship agreements, conservation agreements and wildlife refuge agreements.