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EPA considers proposal for expansion of Fairbanks Quarry at Nabowla

11 November 2016

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed expansion of Fairbanks quarry at Nabowla in the Dorset municipality which was referred to the EPA Board in August 2016.

The proposal by SE & TM Fullbrook is to expand production at the existing Fairbanks quarry from 20,000 cubic metres per annum to 50,000 cubic metres per annum, which will involve ripping and blasting, and materials processing.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the quarry expansion could be developed and 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 the Dorset Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly the potential impacts of noise and dust,” Mr Jones said.

“Public consultation was open for a 14 day period commencing on 3 September 2016, and three representations were received,” he said.

“The issues raised in these representations included traffic management, vegetation clearance, noise impacts, dust impacts, compliance issues and financial impacts on nearby residences and tourism/agricultural businesses.

“A noise assessment report was required by the Board due to the proximity of the quarry to residents and because the proposal involves blasting.

“The report found that the quarry activities were expected to comply with current limits and significant impacts to nearby residences were unlikely,” he said.

However, the proponent will be required to comply with a suite of conditions, including restrictions on operating and blasting hours, noise and blasting limits, notification and monitoring of blasting and complaint management,” said Mr Jones.

The proposal was considered by the Board 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 Board 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 Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.

The Board’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the Dorset 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 Board can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments