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EPA considers proposal for the expansion of the Merry Creek Quarry at Upper Blessington

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Break O'Day Council for the expansion of Merry Creek Quarry on Merry Creek Road at Upper Blessington near Mathinna in the Break O'Day municipality.

The proposal involves expansion of a current Level 1 quarry operated by Break O'Day Council to extract by blasting and excavation, and crush up to 10,000 cubic metres per annum of rock and gravel.

EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford, who made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by Break O'Day Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered in the EPA's assessment, particularly potential noise and vibration impacts to Wedge-tailed Eagle nests located in the vicinity of the quarry and access route," said Mr Ford.

“The Council has committed to, and will be required, to cease operation of the quarry during the Wedge-tailed Eagle breeding season (August to January, inclusive) to prevent impacts to breeding success of this species at nest sites," he said.

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in January 2018. Public consultation was open for a 14-day period commencing 20 January 2018.

The proposal was considered by the Director in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the EPA are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Director undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.

The Director's environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Break O'Day Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

The decision by the EPA Director can be viewed on the EPA website at http://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments