Roads and Maritime Services is committed to undertaking its activities in an environmentally responsible manner and effectively managing any risks that may lead to an impact on the environment. The environmental impact of our activities includes managing issues such as: water, biodiversity, contaminated land, acid sulphate soils, erosion and sedimentation, noise, heritage and air quality.


Biodiversity is the array of all life forms; it includes not only the number of species, but also their genetic information and the ecosystems they form. Australian ecosystems contain many species found nowhere else in the world. Ecosystem processes regulate air, soil and water quality. Road development and operation have the potential to impact on wildlife and habitats. Biodiversity needs to be considered prior to commencing works where roadside vegetation will need to be removed or disturbed.

The NSW Roadside Environment Committee was established to promote and coordinate leading practice in linear reserve environmental management across the State. It currently comprises 12 organisations, including local government, with interests in the management of roadside and other linear reserves in NSW. 

The Biodiversity Guidelines

Protecting and managing biodiversity on RMS Projects are intended for RMS project managers, staff and contractors. They are a tool to help minimise impacts on biodiversity during construction projects and maintenance works. The Biodiversity Guidelines should be used or referred to whenever RMS projects or maintenance have to the potential to impact on biodiversity. This may include, but is not limited to, clearing of native vegetation, removal of hollow-bearing trees and working in aquatic habitats and riparian zones.


Roads and Maritime Services is committed to managing contaminated land in accordance with relevant contaminated land legislation and industry standard best management practices. As part of this commitment, contaminated land management is incorporated into the planning, design and operation of the NSW State Road network. Appropriate assessment, investigation and management of contaminated land is required for the purchase, management and sale of all land.

Acid Sulphate Materials (ASM) are naturally occurring soils, sediments and rock that are acidic by nature. They contain sulphides, which if exposed to air oxidate and can form sulphuric acid.

Although Acid Sulphate Soils are concentrated in coastal environments, there is potential for other ASM to have widespread distribution in the landscape. If disturbed, all forms of ASM can cause unacceptable environmental impacts, including acidification of waterways, major fish kills, habitat destruction, loss of agricultural productivity, geotechnical instability and corrosion of concrete and steel structures.


The New South Wales Pesticides Regulation 1995 requires public authorities such as Roads and Maritime Services and local councils to prepare a Pesticide Use Notification Plan that outlines how they will notify the community of pesticide applications made to public places. Roads and Maritime Services finalised the Roads and Maritime Services Pesticide Use Notification Plan following a 4-week public exhibition period.


Roads and Maritime Services' Environmental Noise Management Manual (ENMM) details the standard for managing noise impacts from road traffic. The Manual provides the management response to the NSW Government's Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise and other approved noise guidelines prepared by the Office of Environment and Heritage.


Works will use the most appropriate water management practices in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the roads and traffic system in order to: conserve water; protect the quality of water resources; and preserve ecosystems.


Roads and Maritime Services Heritage Guidelines are currently under review. For information about heritage policy and conservation matters please contact the RMS Senior Heritage specialist, Environment Branch on 02 8588 5754.

Roads and Maritime Services needs to manage the impact of its activities on Aboriginal cultural heritage and meet its legislative responsibilities in an appropriate, practical and culturally sensitive manner.

Projects will occasionally uncover potential Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal archaeological evidence which could trigger statutory reporting or consent requirements. The RMS Unexpected Archaeological Finds Procedure sets out how RMS staff and projects should manage such incidents, where there is not a specific procedure already set out as part of a project approval.


The Government’s waste management focus is to provide a clear and consistent regulatory and policy framework that minimises harm to the environment and delivers greater waste avoidance and resource recovery. This framework uses a mix of legislative, policy, educative and economic tools to encourage waste avoidance and the further recovery of resources. Relevant guidance can be found at the following links below.

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