Environmental Impact Assessments and Approvals

Our experienced consultants will help you successfully navigate the environmental assessment and approval process and provide you with all the documentation you need to successfully complete your project. We have conducted hundreds of environmental assessments and arranged approvals for a wide variety of projects across NSW. These range from small straightforward developments that need a simple development application (DA) submitted to Council; to large, complex, controversial projects that require substantial assessment and documentation to comply with Part 4 and/or Part 5 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

We can prepare whatever environmental impact assessment documentation you require under the Act including:

  • Preliminary Environmental Assessment – PEA
  • Environmental Impact Statements – EIS
  • Review of Environmental Factors – REF
  • Statement of Environmental Effects – SEE
  • As well as supporting documentation such as species impact statements (SIS), construction environmental management plans (CEMP), operation environmental management plans (OEMP), and specific management plans.

We also prepare Adequacy Reviews of environmental impact assessment documentation.

We work with specialist sub-consultants whom we select for the specific needs of the project, all of which have more than 20 years of consulting experience, so you can be assured that only the very best experts are working on your project.

Example Projects

Scenic World  Redevelopment (Hammon Holdings)

Molino Stewart has been involved for more than 20 years in the progressive redevelopment and refurbishment of this iconic tourist attraction which has been the home of the Katoomba Scenic Railway and Skyway for over 70 years.  Over that time we have, undertaken environmental constraints mapping, provided planning and environmental advice, project managed concept designs, assessed the impacts of several staged developments, designed and delivered community and stakeholder engagement, negotiated leases of public land and organized land acquisitions and land swaps as part of the development approval process.  We have obtained approvals under Part 4 and Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which has enabled our client to transform the site from quirky 1950s rides to a spectacular 21st Century tourist attraction on the edge of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area which attracts nearly one million Australian and international tourists each year.

The work has not been without its challenges with the original facility spanning 13 separate land parcels, with four different owners (three government), which had nine distinct land zonings in two separate local environment plans, none of which permitted the existing and proposed uses of the land.  Furthermore, one of the rides  spans the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, and the whole facility is in a visually prominent location adjacent to residential properties and is accessed by a road system not designed for large volumes of traffic. Careful negotiations with neighbours, the local Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Crown Lands has enabled each stage of development to take place.

Springwood School Expansion Project (Catholic Education Office)

The Parramatta Diocese of the Catholic Education Office operates St Columba’s High School and St Thomas Aquinas Primary School within a large bushland property in Springwood, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Molino Stewart was engaged to obtain development approval for major expansions to both schools each of which had particular environmental and natural hazard challenges. For example the bushland setting meant that bushfire was a significant risk and not only did new buildings need to be compatible with this risk but existing buildings needed to be brought up to current standards. However, the provision of asset protection zones proved challenging because they would have had to encroach into ecological communities which are protected at a state and national level. Furthermore, modifications to some existing buildings were constrained by their State Heritage listing. We worked closely with the Catholic Education Office, the schools, the project architects, the Rural Fire Service and Council to find solutions which were functional, safe and environmentally responsible. We prepared detailed bushfire and ecology assessments and management plans, commissioned a heritage impact statement, an ecologically sustainable development (ESD) report and other assessments, including noise, traffic and hazardous materials to support the development application. We subsequently oversaw the engagement of crews to implement the bushfire/vegetation management plans and we helped the schools develop bushfire emergency plans for their campuses. The bushfire management plan and emergency plans protected the schools and their occupants during the 2013 bushfires which swept through the campuses and surrounding areas destroying homes but leaving the school buildings unscathed and the students safely evacuated.

Preliminary Environmental Assessments (PEA)

JJ Kelly Park Land Form Modification Feasibility Study and Preliminary Environmental Assessment

Molino Stewart was engaged to project manage further investigations into the landform modifications in JJ Kelly Park to determine the feasibility of these works to reduce flood impacts on surrounding residential areas. These investigations and design works identified and documented constraints, developed concept designs and developed costings to inform a cost benefit analysis. Molino Stewart was engaged by Wollongong City Council to undertake a feasibility assessment for the JJ Kelly landform modification. The JJ Kelly landform modification involved excavating part of JJ Kelly Park to provide additional temporary flood storage. Council was investigating the feasibility of the works to assess the viability of the works for flood mitigation given constraints such as existing services, contamination, socio-economic benefits and other environmental factors.

Molino Stewart prepared a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) and the Feasibility Study which looked at three concept design options for the landform modification. Two of the design options considered would have impacted two waterways running through the parkland. The project had a threatened ecological community along the waterways, and this would have been impacted by the land modification works. Further, there were areas along the waterways defined as “wetland” and areas adjacent and within the cleared parkland as “proximity area for coastal wetlands”, which meant the Coastal SEPP applied to the subject land and the project would be assessed under Part 4 of the EP&A Act with an EIS being needed. Additionally, the Biodiversity Values Map showed the western waterway as mapped. Molino Stewart undertook an investigation of the vegetation types and the implications for the Coastal SEPP on the project to provide guidance to the assessment of the feasibility of the proposed works and the implications for the potential ecological impact.

Botany Bay Cable Environmental Impact Assessment

Molino Stewart undertook an Environmental Assessment under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and assessed the environmental constraints for route options for electricity cables to connect the Kurnell sub transmission substation (STS) to the Bunnerong STS. This was a highly sensitive environment from both a natural and heritage point of view as the undersea cables were required to cross Botany Bay. Key environmental issues included the impact of cable laying on protected seagrass beds, threatened marine species habitats, an endangered ecological community, the site of the first contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans, other items of Aboriginal heritage value, disruption to commercial shipping, water pollution, noise, traffic, safety and visual amenity.  Molino Stewart designed and delivered a community and stakeholder engagement plan which included negotiations with two groups of traditional land owners, Sydney Ports Corporation and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

South Albury Levee Upgrade Preliminary Environmental Assessment

The Albury (East and South Levees) levee system was constructed in response to major flood events impacting the City of Albury. Since the 1% annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood level has changed over time, due to the impact of structures on the floodplain (such as the levee) and improvements in flood estimation techniques, the current levee does not provide adequate protection against the 1% AEP flood at present. The City of Albury had commissioned a feasibility study to ensure the levee can meet the present requirements for a 1:100 year flood event. The works included detailed site and geotechnical survey work of the existing levee, preliminary environmental and planning assessment and the development of concept designs of the proposed levee upgrade. Molino Stewart was engaged to conduct a preliminary environmental and planning assessment.

Warrimoo Bike Trail - Ecological Feasibility Study (Ku-ring-gai Council)

Molino Stewart was engaged by Ku-ring-gai Council to conduct an Ecological Feasibility Study of the Warrimoo Downhill Mountain Bike Track located within the Ku-ring-gai Creek Reserve. The track was closed in June 2016 due to concerns about damage to some of Ku-ring-gai’s most ecologically significant bushland. The issues were erosion and sedimentation management issues, as well as trail features and avoidance of significant ecological features. The investigation found it was feasible to reopen the southern downhill trail, provided a suite of measures were implemented, in particular through use of high standard trail construction techniques.

Riverina Biochar Preliminary Environmental Assessment (Riverina Biochar)

Molino Stewart was engaged by Riverina Biochar to conduct a Preliminary Environmental Analysis (PEA) for a Biochar plant in Albury to include in a SEARs application. The PEA involved a desktop search for relevant information on the natural environment, soils, geology and landform, water quality, flooding, aboriginal and non-aboriginal heritage, air quality, traffic and access, public amenity and utilities, as well as an assessment of the project in relation to all relevant legislation and regulation.

Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)

Transport for NSW Long NIF Phase 2 Environmental Impact Assessment

Transport for NSW purchased a new intercity fleet of trains which are longer than the current intercity trains. As a result, alterations to the platforms and sidings on many intercity rail lines were required, including the South Coast Line. The works were located in urban, peri-urban and industrial areas, and were within the rail corridor. Transport for NSW required an Environmental Impact Assessment Checklist (EIA) under Division 5.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to be prepared on its behalf. Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare the environmental impact assessment. This included coordinating specialist inputs on heritage, noise and arboriculture.

Review of Environmental Factors (REF)

Dam Upgrades (Water NSW)

We have prepared Reviews of Environmental Factors (REFs) for more than 25 dam and weir upgrade projects at Water NSW Dams across the state.  This has ranged from the removal or weirs or the construction of fish ladders to improve fish passage, the modification of outlet works to reduce thermal pollution and the raising of dam walls and construction of auxiliary spillways to improve dam safety.

We have also prepared Construction Environment Management Plans, Wildlife Corridor Plans and Weed Management Strategies to support these projects.

Nepean Tunnel Diversion Culvert Review of Environmental Factors (WaterNSW)

Molino Stewart was engaged by WaterNSW to prepare the Review of Environmental Factors, Statement of Heritage Impact Assessment (SoHI) and an Aboriginal archaeological assessment to consider the potential impacts from construction and future operations of a proposed diversion structure.

Grose River Bridge (North Richmond Joint Venture) (NRJV)

NRJV investigated options for a new public road bridge crossing the Grose River at Yarramundi to provide sufficient transport infrastructure for its proposed development in North Richmond and to alleviate existing and future traffic issues due to growth within the region west of Sydney. Molino Stewart prepared an Opportunities and Constraints Report analysing the various options and, with a preferred option selected, prepared a Review of Environmental Factors.

Parramatta Footbridge and Cycleway REF

Molino Stewart prepared a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for an innovatively designed pedestrian footbridge over the Parramatta River. Key issues included its visual impacts and potential construction impacts on ecologically significant mangroves. The REF was originally completed in 2017 based on concept plans. Our work included the REF, a terrestrial ecology and aquatic ecology assessment. In 2020, due to refinement of the construction methodology the environmental assessments required updating. The 2017 REF was determined prior to the introduction of the Coastal Management SEPP. The implication of this was that when the construction methods were updated the extent of mangrove clearing could not be increased without triggering an EIS. Molino Stewart undertook consultation with DPIE to confirm our approach was correct and the design team developed a responsive methodology. We worked with marine specialists Bio Analysis, who undertook an ecological assessment of the mangroves, and sampling of the river sediments. With acid sulphate soils being present, Molino Stewart also prepared an acid sulphate soil management plan to accompany the REF.

Lake Parramatta Review of Environmental Factors (Parramatta City Council)

Molino Stewart was engaged to provide advice about a suitable scope for a Review of Environmental Factors, and the level of assessment required to maintain, improve and/or reinstate pieces of infrastructure as part of minor works to take place at Lake Parramatta Dam. This project involved considering the issue of the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and bush rock protection and determining the appropriate depth of analysis for the Review of Environmental Factors. The main considerations that would need to be evaluated in the Review of Environmental Factors were identified. Molino Stewart was subsequently engaged to prepare the Review of Environmental Factors.

REF for Doyle Ground, North Parramatta

Doyle Grounds sporting fields required an upgrade to the floodlighting. In order for these changes to be made, the Council required a Review of Environmental Factors. This project involved assessing the vegetation, potential fauna species, Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritage items and classifications, as well as geotechnical report and contamination. Once assessed, all potential issues were flagged, then safeguards were created to ensure the works could be undertaken whilst maintaining local ecology and working within the scope of legislation and SEPPs.

Lachlan Valley Way Cowra Shoulder Widening and Hazard Removal Biodiversity Assessment Report (Roads & Maritime Services)

Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a Biodiversity Assessment Report and Project Review of Environmental Factors for a proposal to widen the road shoulders, remove or protect roadside hazards and upgrade one intersection along a section of Lachlan Valley Way, south of Cowra. The proposal required the removal of mature native trees and rows of planted trees, as well as one creek crossing.

Westville and Woodstock Shoulder Widening and Hazard Removal (Roads & Maritime Services)

Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a Review of Environmental Factors for a proposal to widen road shoulders, remove or protect roadside hazards and upgrade one intersection along an 800 metre section of the Mid-Western Highway at Westville Road, Woodstock.

Stage 1 F6 Review of Environmental Factors Compensatory Works Adequacy Review (Bayside Council)

Molino Stewart was engaged by Bayside Council to review a Review of Environmental Factors for Compensatory Works relating to community recreational facilities in Bayside. In addition to this we also reviewed the public submissions following the two week exhibition period.

Environmental Assessments for Menangle Wastewater (Mirvac)

Molino Stewart was engaged by Mirvac to prepare a Review of Environmental Factors to assess the potential environmental impacts of an Interim Operating Plan for the wastewater strategy for development in Menangle Park. This Review of Environmental Factors considered the potential impacts to soil, water, flora and fauna, air, waste, noise, traffic, social and visual amenity and to heritage. An assessment of impacts on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage was undertaken.  This was completed in the Sydney Water Corporation template, as Sydney Water Corporation was the proponent.

Sewerage Works REF Updates (Central Coast Council)

Molino Stewart was engaged by Central Coast Council to update several Review of Environmental Factors Molino Stewart had previously prepared for the proposed upgrade of a sewer pumping station and associated structures to account for legislative updates and design. The sites were generally urban areas and had pre-existing sewerage infrastructure installed, which needed to be removed. We updated the environmental impact assessment template, completed new desktop searches, as necessary undertook site inspections to assess revised impacts, and updated the ecological assessments to reflect the changes in legislation.

Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE)

Young Shire Council Statement of Environmental Effects for gravel pits

Young Shire Council operates several gravel pits throughout the Shire area. These are principally used to provide materials for road maintenance, construction and emergency maintenance works in the Young Area. Council has determined to rationalise and formalise its gravel pit management, and as such, Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare Statement of Environmental Effects for four council gravel pits.

Adequacy Reviews

Adequacy Review of Components of the EIS of M5 East (Bayside Council)

The WestConnex road project includes 9 km of twin tunnels from Kingsgrove to St Peters along with a major interchange at St Peters. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had been prepared for this section of the project and local councils were given the opportunity to make a submission on the EIS. Bayside Council engaged Molino Stewart, on behalf of five councils in the region, to conduct an independent review of WestConnex New M5 EIS. Molino Stewart used its in-house expertise along with specialist sub consultants to critically review the biodiversity, water quality, hydrology and air quality components of the EIS and prepare a report which could be used by local councils to make a submission (either individually or as a region). The report identified and raised multiple concerns with the technical rigour of the impact assessments associated with the WestConnex project. This commission required and achieved a fast turnaround time in order for councils to use the information when preparing their submissions.

Palmers Island Industrial Marine Precinct Planning

Molino Stewart was engaged to review a planning proposal which sought to rezone land to facilitate the development of a boat building facility in a rural area. The proposal, which had twice been rejected, had progressed through a Gateway determination with minor changes despite contradicting strategic planning policy. The review report was used as a submission during the public exhibition period. Ultimately, the Department of Planning determined the project should not proceed.

Adequacy Review of Components of the Environmental Impact Statement for Cook Cove Southern Precinct Golf Course

The Cook Cove Southern Precinct development would see the relocation of the Kogarah Golf Course from its current location into the open space area known as Barton Park, Banksia and Riverine Park, Arncliffe. This is part of a larger proposal that will also include the redevelopment of the current Kogarah Golf Course into a mixed use development including active and passive recreational space. Molino Stewart reviewed the water quality, water usage and biodiversity components of the Environmental Impact Statement.


For competitive environmental consulting services phone Molino Stewart on +612 9354 0300 or contact us by email.