The Native Vegetation Council (NVC) is an independent body established by the Native Vegetation Act 1991. The NVC monitors the overall condition of the state’s vegetation and makes decisions on a wide range of matters concerning native vegetation in South Australia, including assessing applications and establishing conditions for the clearance of native vegetation.
Historically, South Australia has cleared too much native vegetation. This legacy means that a disproportionally high amount of remnant native vegetation occurs on roadsides and in road reserves, especially in the agricultural zone. Some of this may be the only remnant of the pre-European vegetation in a region and often contains threatened species and vegetation communities.
Benefits of roadside vegetation
Roadside vegetation provides a range of environmental and social benefits. Additionally, it can also have benefits for road maintenance and safety. They include providing shelter from wind and shade from sun glare, enhancing driver alertness, helping with road formation and stabilisation of slopes and embankments, and preventing weeds from establishing.
Issues resulting from roadside vegetation
Native vegetation can also create issues for road users such as preventing vehicle movement and clear vision, and creating possible hazards. Local councils and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) need to be able to manage roadside vegetation to allow for the safe movement of vehicles.
The new guidelines also provide rules around removing native vegetation if there's a safety concern. These rules replace the previous Framework for Clearance of Native Vegetation under Regulation 5(1)(lb) – Public Safety for Rail crossing, Road intersections and Roadsides (October 2012).
Using the interim guidelines
Local councils and DPTI can use these interim guidelines as a replacement to the Guidelines for the Management of Roadside Vegetation (2012) during the consultation period and they are encouraged to provide their feedback to the Native Vegetation Council.