Batching plant moves forward

A CONTENTIOUS concrete batching plant planned for Bayswater looks likely to get approval, with environment minister Albert Jacob deciding it doesn’t need a full environmental assessment.

Ransberg Pty Ltd got approval for the Collier Road plant after a state administrative tribunal appeal, but locals concerned about health impacts, air quality and the amenity of their neighbourhood were hoping the environmental protection authority might step in. The EPA says a full assessment isn’t necessary.

Bayswater councillor Chris Cornish lodged an appeal (one of four) to the environment minister, beseeching him to force the EPA’s hand and provide a full formal environmental assessment.

The minister sent him a long letter saying “no”.

Scathing

Cr Cornish wrote a scathing opinion piece on his blog, saying Mr Jacob’s response could be summarised by an image he posted: a picture of the minister’s head placed on a cartoon body pulling the middle finger.

“The people who live and/or work in the vicinity have been severely let down by numerous state government departments,” Cr Cornish wrote.

He says the EPA and the minister trusted Ransberg’s dust and noise modelling instead of doing independent investigations.

Cr Cornish also says the plant will be capable of producing 150 cubic metres of cement every hour, yet the applicant says mostly it will only produce 135 cubic metres in a full day. A couple of times a year that might rise to 500 cubic metres. “It defies logic that the plant capacity is ignored in this way,” he wrote.

“The SAT are the real villains in this whole process. There should never have been an approval in the first place, and now we simply await their red stamp, the only one they have, for approval of the revised plans.

Let down

“The people have been sorely let down”.

Mr Jacob says the EPA considered “amenity, human health, and air quality … but concluded that its objectives for these factors could be met without the need for a formal environmental impact assessment.”  The minister also noted the plant had approvals through the SAT.

Mr Jacob also says if the plant does ramp up production, it’ll still have to abide by planning and environmental rules.

“Taking into account the information available to me, including the level of local interest, I consider the EPA was justified in determining not to assess the proposal,” Mr Jacob’s letter reads. “I note in particular that the proposal will need to meet detailed conditions relating to dust in the SAT approval as well as meet statutory requirements under the concrete batching and noise regulations.”

by DAVID BELL

947 Loftus 10x7

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