Updated October, 2021
What is a Statement of Environmental Effects?
In simple terms, a Statement of Environmental Effects is the most important document in your development application. It tells councils what your development is trying to do.
Consent Authorities, such as Local Councils, the Land and Environment Court, and sometimes the Department of Planning, Environment & Industry have a duty to understand certain things about your project. A statement of environmental effects (SEE) is a document that translates your development objectives into a language which allows a consent authority to make a determination.
Why do you need a Statement of Environmental Effects?
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 in Schedule 1, Part 1, Section 2, Clause 1, Subclause c requires “a statement of environmental effects (in the case of development other than designated development or State significant development)”.
This regulation means the vast majority of development applications require the production of a SEE. Further, there are specific instructions on the contents of the report.
What goes into a Statement of Environmental Effects?
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 in Schedule 1, Part 1 requires that a statement of environmental effects include:
(a) the environmental impacts of the development,
(b) how the environmental impacts of the development have been identified,
(c) the steps to be taken to protect the environment or to lessen the expected harm to the environment,
(d) any matters required to be indicated by any guidelines issued by the Planning Secretary for the purposes of this clause.
If your project involves an apartment building, additionally, the following must be included:
(a) an explanation of how—
(i) the design quality principles are addressed in the development, and
(ii) in terms of the Apartment Design Guide, the objectives of that guide have been achieved in the development,
(b) drawings of the proposed development in the context of surrounding development, including the streetscape,
(c) development compliance with building heights, building height planes, setbacks and building envelope controls (if applicable) marked on plans, sections and elevations,
(d) drawings of the proposed landscape area, including species selected and materials to be used, presented in the context of the proposed building or buildings, and the surrounding development and its context,
(e) if the proposed development is within an area in which the built form is changing, statements of the existing and likely future contexts,
(f) photomontages of the proposed development in the context of surrounding development,
(g) a sample board of the proposed materials and colours of the facade,
(h) detailed sections of proposed facades,
(i) if appropriate, a model that includes the context.
How much does a Statement of Environmental Effects cost?
The cost of a statement of environmental effects varies depending on the complexity of your project. For example, a simple report may only cost you a few hundred dollars, but a detailed statement might cost several thousand dollars.
How long does it take to write a Statement of Environmental Effects?
The preparation of a statement of environmental effects is quite complex and challenging. A well-prepared report will take anywhere from 20 to 1000+ hours. The Precise Planning team often has several team members working on one document to speed the process up.
Who can write a Statement of Environmental Effects?
Writing a SEE is not dissimilar to producing artwork in that, yes, you most certainly can write your own, but an expert will be significantly better.
A good SEE is not only for just satisfying the requirements of a consent authority but acts as a written representation to support your project.
If you engage Precise Planning to prepare your statement of environmental effects, we guarantee it will be of the highest quality, and you will have the best chance with the council.
If you need assistance writing a SEE, or if you are looking for a peer review of an existing SEE please click here.