Site contamination assessments for SA development approvals

Recent changes to planning regulations, with respect to the need for site contamination assessment, have complicated the development approval process in South Australia.

Site contamination assessments are often a key component in the development approval process throughout Australia. Each state has specific requirements and various governing bodies request and regulate contamination assessments be completed to support development approval.

In South Australia, recent changes to the planning regulations mean that successfully undertaking site contamination assessments to support development approval is much more complicated than it has been in the past. Site contamination assessments in South Australia and the SCDAS

The state’s new Site Contamination Development Assessment Scheme (SCDAS) is tricky to navigate without a high level of technical expertise and specialisation. Attempting to push forward with the development approval process without this expertise can result in significant project delays and unnecessary CAPEX.

Fyfe’s Principal Environmental Scientist Mark Peterson notes that “in general, the new Site Contamination Development Assessment Scheme has codified the assessment requirements and made the approval process in South Australia fairer and more transparent, but also extremely complex and challenging to navigate. There are teething issues.”

For example, the role played by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) within the new legislative framework hasn’t been straightforward for the industry, resulting in challenges and delays to development approvals over the past year. Consultants working in this space also need to clearly understand how the SCDAS differs from the traditional environmental protection regulations and guidelines in South Australia, as well as the hierarchies of land use sensitivity and contaminating activities that trigger SCDAS requirements.

Fyfe and Advisers from the EPA lead ACLCA event

Mark recently presented to 60 attendees at an Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA) event, discussing the new SCDAS legislation over its first year of implementation. Mark also covered many of the as-yet unresolved issues within the new system, soliciting feedback and discussion from his fellow panel members from the EPA.

A former ACLCA committee member with significant contamination assessment experience and long-standing working relationships with relevant EPA branches, Mark is one of Fyfe’s go-to experts on all things related to contamination assessments and development approvals in South Australia.

With Mark and his team’s assistance, Fyfe has successfully helped a range of clients navigate the complexities of the new legislation – from those with large, formerly agricultural sites being redeveloped for residential subdivisions, to those with former industrial allotments and significant site contamination issues. 

An Australia-wide site contamination assessment service

Fyfe’s team of environmental scientists, contamination and planning experts work across the country delivering integrated services that help our clients gain the approvals they need to continue working on their projects.

Fyfe’s National Environmental Manager, Marc Andrews adds: “We’re passionate about supporting our clients and providing a tailored service and outcome that delivers to their needs.  With local expertise and knowledge of regulations we aim to truly understand our clients’ project and any issues they may face.”

Fast development approvals matter

Fast development approvals mean our clients can get back to doing what they do best: redesigning and redeveloping land for a range of purposes.

Fyfe has local experts available across Australia who understand the intricacies of environmental regulations and assessments, and we know how to ensure the development approval process runs smoothly and as quickly as possible.

For assistance with your project, please contact us.