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EPA considers proposal to extend the McRobies Gully landfill

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed extension to the McRobies Gully landfill, South Hobart.

The Hobart City Council is seeking to increase the final fill height of a portion of the McRobies Gully Landfill in South Hobart by 16 meters. This involves an extension of the landfilling area on the north-western and north-eastern boundaries of the existing landfilling area. The proposal effectively extends the operating life of the landfill for an additional 15 years. No increase in the existing limit of waste to be received at the landfill (85,000 tonnes per annum) has been sought.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the extension of the landfill could be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. These conditions must be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Hobart City Council.

"Five representations were received during the 28 day period of public consultation, which commenced on 5 December 2015," Mr Jones said.

"One representation considered that the site is currently well managed and raised issues about the long term use of the area which are beyond the scope of this assessment, while another dealt with “big-picture” waste issues rather than the specific proposal," he said.

"The remaining three raised issues including the extension of the life of the landfill and the potential for ongoing odour, noise, dust and traffic problems for nearby residents, potential impacts from windblown garbage, feral animals and weeds on adjoining lands (including Wellington Park), and the potential for impact on threatened species.

“In making its assessment, the Board considered these issues along with key environmental impacts of the proposal.

“The potential impacts on the threatened Swift Parrot from the removal of potential habitat were a key focus, and conditions have been included in the permit that will require Council to plan for and undertake the appropriate management for the removal of a number of blue gums” he said.

“Issues relating to drainage and leachate management, dust and odour, and noise, were also considered and conditions placed in the permit to manage the risk to the environment and to nearby residents” 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 Hobart 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 Board can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment