After a long six year fight, recent news signals that the proposed concrete batching plant, in close proximity to Bayswater houses, will become a reality. The people who live and/or work in the vicinity have been severely let down by numerous State government departments. And I for one am out of ideas.
Today I received a letter from Hon Albert Jacob MLA, the State Liberal Minister for Environment; Heritage. It can be found here, but the picture on the right provides a brief summary. The letter was in response to my appeal to have him instruct the Environmental
Protection Authority (EPA), also known as ‘Every Proposal Approved’, to conduct an environmental impact assessment on the concrete batching plant.
His response was not what was wanted; neither was it warranted.
The Minister’s letter refers to the approval from SAT. Surely the EPA is meant to decide environmental matters and not SAT. In SAT’s Decision, it is written that “the plant would also require licensing and ongoing regulation by the State’s departmental environmental agency, if it were to be proceeded with.” So SAT approve because there will be environmental oversight by the EPA and the EPA approve because SAT approved the plant. This circular reasoning is absurd.
The letter states that the separation distances is less than the generic distances recommended by the EPA but that the proponent’s (applicants) own modelling indicated there would be no unacceptable impacts. With regards to dust, the proponent’s own modelling indicates emissions which may exceed the National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) on only two occasions per year. In relation to noise modelling again by the proponent, indicates everything will be okay.
Clearly the Minister and the EPA have relied on the applicants own modelling. I wonder whether an applicant has ever provided modelling stating that their application shouldn’t go ahead? As if.
The letter notes that the EPA was justified in not contemplating any production over 500 m3 per day. As I have previously written about when detailing the numerous reasons the plant should’t be allowed, whilst the applicant states they will have an average daily production rate of 135 m3, with the possibility of up to 500 m3 on two days per year, they are building a plant which can produce 150 m3 per hour! It defies logic that the plant capacity is ignored in this way.
The letter comes soon after the State Administration Tribunal (SAT) approved an extension of time for the original plant design. I have previously provided my thoughts on why this shouldn’t have happened. 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.
The people have been sorely let down. #SackTheSAT
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)
*** FOLLOW UP ***
19/12/16: As anticipated, the SAT approved the concrete batching plant on the 14th December. True to form, their contempt for the citizens was illustrated by their refusal (and what I consider negligence) in not applying a production limit and in not applying a ‘wind fence’ condition to protect the neighbouring business.
Whilst the application claimed an average daily production limit of 135 m3, and 500 m3/day on only one or two days of the year, the SAT has approved a plant capable of producing 150m3 per hour and NOT imposed a production limit.
Resident concerns about traffic, noise, visual pollution and their health have been ignored by numerous government departments.
As this NSW government safety alert makes clear, cement dust can be dangerous.
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