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EPA considers proposal for expansion of a quarry at Oonah Road, Highclere

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed quarry expansion at Oonah Road, Highclere in the Burnie City Council municipality.

The proposal is to expand operations at the Oonah Road quarry, increasing the extraction and processing of rock and gravel from up to 5,000 cubic metres per annum to up to 20,000 cubic metres, and will include crushing and screening of the rock and gravel.

The EPA Director, Wes Ford made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, concluding the proposed 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 Burnie City Council.

"Various environmental issues were considered in making this assessment, particularly the potential impacts from blasting and noise emissions on nearby sensitive receptors," said Mr Ford.

"Site specific studies were undertaken in relation to these issues, indicating that these impacts on the nearest sensitive receptors were unlikely.

"Standard noise and blasting conditions will be imposed, which include restrictions on operating and blasting hours, notification of residents in relation to blasting events and noise and vibration limits and monitoring.

"Management of dust emissions from the plant and movement of vehicles on the land will also be required under standard conditions," he said.

"While vegetation removal is proposed as part of the activity, no impacts to threatened vegetation communities, flora or fauna were identified," said Mr Ford.

Two representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in July 2016. The issues raised in these representations were potential impacts from blasting, noise and dust emissions and traffic. Public consultation was open for a 28 day period commencing on 13 August 2016.

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 the Act, 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 EMPCA.

The Director’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Burnie City 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 www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments