Further to my earlier blog post requesting people to make a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), unfortunately the EPA have decided that whilst the proposed concrete batching plant “raises a number of environmental issues … the overall environmental impact … is not so significant as to require an assessment by the EPA”. This is a poor decision in the eyes of the community who will have to live near the proposed noxious industry. There is still hope though.
The EPA’s decision is open to appeal, where for $10 and by filling in this form, you can ask the Minister for Environment, Hon Albert Jacob MLA, to direct the EPA to reconsider their decision. The form needs to be submitted by the 4th of April. Bizarrely they only offer a 14-day appeal time-frame and take no account of weekends, public holidays or the fact that their letter took a few days to reach me. In addition to the short time-frame, by not providing an editable version, or sufficient space in the “describe concern” boxes, it would appear they don’t really want any appeals.
Nonetheless, I have now submitted an appeal based on 3 grounds:
- Daily Production Rate. The EPA state that they gave “particular regard” to “the maximum rate of production of 500 m3/day only occurring one or two days per year”. I suggest that with a plant which will be able to produce 150 m3/hour, the maximum production rate may be three times what the EPA have used as a basis for their decision.
- Buffer zone. The EPA’s document, ‘Separation distances between industrial and sensitive land uses’, states the buffer distance should be 300-500 metres, depending on the size of the plant. The EPA also agree that the nearest sensitive land use is immediately north of the site (Joan Rycroft Reserve) and the nearest residential premise is 250 metres away. How can the EPA ignore their own document? Especially as in a recent Supreme Court ruling, “The court concluded that the EPA took no account of its own published policies at the time it made its decision and provided its report to the Minister.” It should also be noted that the updated ‘Separation distances between industrial and sensitive land uses’ currently under draft states “it is the EPA’s view that separation distances must be implemented using appropriate planning mechanisms such as buffers.”
- Sensitive land use – The EPA should have considered the adjoining business, AbelWestchem, as being sensitive to particular emissions (dust) and hence being a “sensitive land use” as well.
So let us hope that the Minister acknowledges the valid concerns of the residents and businesses around the proposed site, and instructs the EPA to review their decision of not carrying out an environmental assessment. Once a concrete batching plant is established, it’ll likely be there forever. And whilst limitations on the operating hours can be placed on any initial planning approval, as was shown with the East Perth concrete batching plant, things can morph into a 24 hour a day operation.
Power to the People.
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)
Previous – 12 November 2015 – http://chriscornish.info/concrete-batching-plant/
Follow up – 11 May 2016 – http://chriscornish.info/time-ticking-batching-plant/
Follow up – 19 August 2016 – http://chriscornish.info/bayswater-concrete-batching-plant/