Legal Protection for Land
The main mechanism that the Nature Conservation Trust (NCT) uses to conserve the precious biodiversity found on privately-owned rural land in NSW is a legally binding conservation agreement (also known as a conservation land title covenant). This conservation agreement is developed in consultation with an individual land owner and tailored to suit their particular rural acreage.
Conservation land covenants protecting high conservation value land
A conservation land title covenant is a voluntary agreement with the NCT that helps the land owner to protect and enhance the natural values of their property. The land covenant can apply to all or part of the property, and can only be terminated with the consent of the NCT Board.
The land covenant has legislative weight under the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001 and can be enforced by the Land and Environment Court. Because the covenant is registered on the property title, any future owners are legally bound to uphold it. This ensures that the environmental integrity and biodiversity of a property is protected in perpetuity.
The NCT is responsible for ensuring the property owner's compliance with the conservation land title covenant. We support, monitor and defend its conditions through our long-term environmental stewardship program. This program offers all those land owners with whom we have conservation agreements the support and expertise they need to realise our shared nature conservation objectives.
Plan of conservation land management
An important component of every conservation land covenant is the detailed plan of management, which sets out a 100-year vision for the conservation land management of your rural property. It includes the conditions the land owner must observe in accordance with the conservation covenant and strategies to assist them to manage the land sustainably, possibly even further improve its biodiversity.
The plan of management is designed to complement existing environmental legislation, which continues to apply to the covenanted land.
NCT land covenanting programs
Our land covenanting program targets specific regions within NSW (Lismore in the North, Orange-Blue Mountains in the central belt of NSW and Albury-Wodonga in south NSW) and landscapes that are rich in biodiversity. If a rural property falls within a targeted region, the NCT might approach the land owners to establish a conservation land covenant. Alternatively, land owners who care about safeguarding the natural value of their land and its species can apply to take part in one of the NCT’s conservation land covenanting programs.
Applying a conservation land title covenant to a rural property in NSW gives its threatened species enduring legal protection.
The Nature Conservation Trust co-operates with rural land owners in NSW, community groups, non-government agencies and government bodies to establish land title covenants to protect biodiversity on private land.