Roadside Environmental Management

Roadside reserves are complex environments due to competing values, with a wide range of issues to consider including road safety, conservation, cultural values, firewood collection, bushfire risk, recreational use, legal requirements and development pressures.

Local Government has a key role in managing local and regional road reserves, and some aspects of state road reserves across NSW, including the environmental values of these areas.

Roadside reserves contain significant native biodiversity, including ecological communities that may not be represented in national parks, public reserves or private land. They provide valuable wildlife habitats and corridors, especially when linked with other native vegetation remnants in the landscape, and provide connectivity which may assist in ensuring roadside environments are more sustainable in the longer term.

Council Roadside Reserves Project 

The Council Roadside Reserves (CRR) Project is a three-year project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and managed by LGNSW.  The CRR Project has been established to build the capacity of councils to embed the value of natural assets in roadside reserves into the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) systems of councils. It includes a contestable grants component to assist councils in the process. 


Griffith City Council undertook a comprehensive survey of all roadside reserve vegetation communities and their condition along 1,348km of roadside reserves. This informed the development of the Griffith Roadside Vegetation Management Plan and other resources. Read the case study (PDF, 109KB). 

Wagga Wagga City Council assessed the conservation value of their roadside vegetation using the Rapid Assessment Methodology (RAM) and the EcoRoadside App with a total of 123 individual assessments undertaken across the LGA. 


Council Roadside Environmental Management Framework  

LGNSW has developed the Council Roadside Environmental Management Framework (CREMF) (PDF, 3.8MB) which aims to streamline roadside environmental management in councils. 

The framework looks at councils' many complex road responsibilities holistically and aims to support councils in NSW to navigate complex legislation, meet regulatory requirements, minimise risk and make the process of improving roadside environments more efficient and cost-effective.

Embedding roadside environmental management within IP&R has the benefit of streamlining the process by linking it with existing planning, reporting and asset management processes. Resources and tools are included to assist councils in the process. Grants were available for councils to be part of the statewide pilot program to trial the framework concepts to improve the management and long-term environmental value of their roadside reserve assets.  

This presentation below provides an overview of the CREMF.


Natural asset management and roadside reserves 

LGNSW is undertaking a natural assets project to provide direction and resources for councils to assist them in integrating natural assets into their existing management systems. The first stage of the project involved investigating the current activities undertaken by councils as well as identifying opportunities to value natural assets in roadside reserves.

Survey of councils

A survey of NSW councils has been undertaken to determine how councils currently manage their natural assets. A report outlining the findings from the 44 councils completing the survey is available.

Download the survey report (PDF, 292KB)

Research report

A report to investigate and assess the current tools and approaches being used to manage natural assets as a component of broader local government asset management systems has been undertaken.

The report combined with survey responses will inform the development of practical advice to guide councils in integrating natural assets into existing council systems.

Download the research report (PDF, 3.8MB)

Grants to councils

The CRR project included a contestable grants program for councils to trial the framework concepts to improve the management and long-term environmental value of their roadside reserve asset.  A total of  21 successful applications (PDF, 212KB) were approved, totalling $1,205,206.

Projects are under way and will be completed by 28 February 2019.

Resources for grant projects 

More CRR grant-related resources, including training videos, are also available.

This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.