Land Capability and impact on agriculture; assessments for development applications
AK Consultants can provide Agricultural Reports, Bushfire Risk Assessments, Land Capability Assessments, and Natural Values (flora, fauna, and vegetation) Assessments for Development Applications. This one-stop-shop approach has the potential to provide significant savings to our clients and efficiencies in delivery. AK Consultants work closely with Municipal Planners to ensure their assessments meet the Planning Scheme requirements.
Land Capability assessment
AK Consultants have over 20 years experience in assessing Land Capability in Tasmania for developers, landholders, and Councils. We follow State Government guidelines, Planning Scheme requirements and our own methodology. Ask to see our protocol for more information on how we do it. Each assessment is completed to a standard that can meet the requirements of a Planning Commission hearing or tribunal, should the need arise.
Land use planning and State policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land 2009 (PAL Policy)
AK Consultants has experience in assisting Planners with understanding constraints on agricultural land use. We have developed a system for assessing potential land use in the Rural Resource Zone and have a thorough understanding of the application of the state policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land 2009.
We have experience in analysing the importance of agriculture to the rural economy based on the best available datasets.
Acid sulfate soil risk assessments and management in the rural zone
Acid Sulfate Soil (ASS) is a type of naturally occurring soil that has the potential to cause significant environmental harm if disturbed. These soils occur mainly in coastal areas, however they can also be found inland. In their natural state they are harmless. However, if these soils are excavated or exposed in significant quantities, or their hydrology is changed there is the potential for significant acidification of land and waterways.
AK Consultants has specialist expertise in the determination of ASS risks; we can undertake mapping and sampling and provide interpretation of laboratory results and ASS Management Plans for developers, and monitor the implementation of plans. AK Consultants has worked with the Department to develop practical and cost effective assessment and management techniques in a dam construction environment.
In some areas, bridges, pipes, and parks (turf) have been affected by ASS. AK Consultants has the expertise to provide advice on the risk to property assets in areas with ASS.
Assessment of soil salinity risks and management associated with agricultural land use
Some Tasmanian soils and landscapes have high levels of salinity, either from natural accumulation or as a result of land management activities. We have undertaken a number of studies in the low rainfall areas of Tasmania and can provide an assessment of salinity risks and the requirements for management. This work commonly involves an assessment of the potential impacts on groundwater; where specialist advice is required on groundwater we engage Mark Hocking (Hocking et al), a specialist hydro-geologist with extensive experience in salinity in Tasmania.
Agricultural reports for developments in rural zones
AK Consultants can provide comprehensive Agricultural Reports that Councils require when considering some Development Applications; for example a residence in the Rural Resource Zone. Agricultural Reports examine whether a proposed development will have an impact on agricultural use of the subject title and surrounding land and includes an analysis of fettering risks (i.e. risks that claims of nuisance may develop in the future), Land Capability, existing and potential irrigation water resources, and current and potential land use.
Agricultural Land Studies – municipal, catchment and regional scale
AK Consultants have undertaken several large scale agricultural land studies including an Agricultural Profile for the eight Municipalities in the Northern Region as well as a Regional Summary for Northern Tasmania Development Board. AK Consultants (in conjunction with others) have also a developed a GIS model for determining land that is constrained for agricultural use. The outputs of the model assist in determining appropriate zoning boundaries (see regional land use planning). AK Consultants have also developed industry specific models to determine suitability of land for particular development, for example a vineyard suitability model identifies land in the West Tamar Municipality that is suitable for vineyard development.
Regional land use planning – for Municipal Planning Schemes
AK Consultants have assessed large areas for agricultural potential at the regional scale to determine appropriate zoning boundaries and buffering requirements to reduce the risk of constraining adjacent agricultural use within the agricultural/residential interface.
Determining agricultural potential and appropriate buffers is based on an existing and potential agricultural capability perspective. Our approach initially involves a constraints analysis followed by our enterprise scale analysis which further examines the current and potential land use and the scale of operation. Recommendations can then be provided on where the zoning boundaries should lie. From this analysis, Local Government Planners can then make better informed decisions on titles that should be included in the Rural Resource Zone or better justify areas that should be excluded from the Rural Resource Zone.
We are also familiar with the new Statewide Planning Scheme and the need for Local Government to determine which titles are to be included in the Agricultural Estate. Our enterprise suitability analysis provides a next level assessment and can be used to target areas which require further scrutiny to ascertain whether they should be included in the Agricultural Estate or not.
Bushfire risk assessments for development applications
These assessments are often a requirement for developments in the Rural Resource Zone and AK Consultants can combine these with other assessment requirements such as Agricultural Reports and Natural Values Assessments.
Property reports and due diligence
AK consultants can undertake pre-purchase due diligence reports covering issues such as water resources, land availability, potential for clearing, and compliance with effluent management plans.
Soil assessment, mapping and management
AK Consultants have many years experience in assessing soils for Land Capability, suitability for irrigation, and salinity risk. AK Consultants can provide farm, catchment, and regional scale soil and land resource surveys. These can help to identify new crop and horticultural potential, ensure appropriate irrigation development, assist with local planning, and identify land resource risks associated with new developments.