NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Safeguarding our Agricultural Land

The NSW Government has introduced a range of measures designed to deliver greater protection to agricultural land from the impacts of mining and coal seam gas (CSG) activity. It has done this by:

  • implementing coal seam gas exclusion zones across 2.7 million hectares of NSW, covering current and future residential land and Critical Industry Clusters in the Upper Hunter
  • safeguarding 2.8 million hectares of biophysical strategic agricultural land across the state by applying the Gateway process for State significant mining and coal seam gas proposals
  • implementing Critical Industry Clusters for the equine and viticulture industries in the Upper Hunter to ban new coal seam gas activity within those areas, and ensure proposals for State significant mining projects are scrutinised via the Gateway process
  • establishing a Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel to scientifically assess mining and coal seam gas impacts on strategic agricultural land and its associated water resources
  • introducing regulations governing exploration activity, overseen by the Land and Water Commissioner
  • introducing an Aquifer Interference Policy
  • developing Guidelines and technical notes for preparing an Agricultural Impact Statement for State significant development applications
  • introducing Codes of Practice; one for fracture stimulation and another for well integrity
  • making all CSG activity subject to an environment protection licence issued by the EPA
  • implementing the findings of the Independent review into CSG activity in NSW by the Chief Scientist and Engineer
  • implementing the NSW Gas Plan

Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL)

Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL) is land with high quality soil and water resources capable of sustaining high levels of productivity.

BSAL plays a critical role sustaining the State’s $12 billion agricultural industry.

A total of 2.8 million hectares of BSAL has been identified and mapped at a regional scale across the State.

In October 2013, 1.74 million hectares of BSAL were mapped in the Upper Hunter and New England North West regions. In January 2014, the NSW Government finalised mapping for an additional one million hectares of BSAL across the rest of the State.

A site verification process has been developed under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007 (view the Mining SEPP), to determine the existence of BSAL at the site of a potential development.

BSAL maps

The BSAL maps have been provided as a downloadable ZIP file which may take some time to download. If you are having difficulty in downloading this file please contact the Department on telephone 1300 305 695 and we will post you a copy.

Important notes for users


Page last updated: 17/02/2023