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EPA considers proposal to increase Flinders Island quarry production

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Markarna Grazing Pty Ltd to increase an existing quarrying activity at 634 Palana Rd, Flinders Island in the Flinders Council municipality.

Markarna Gazing Pty Ltd proposes to increase production at an existing quarry (which is classed as a Level 1 Activity) to a maximum of 120,000 cubic metres of gravel per year. Although the typical annual production is expected to be 20,000 cubic metres per year, the greater annual limit is to enable generation of material for occasional major projects on the island. The proposal includes rock extraction by blasting, followed by crushing and screening on the pit floor.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said that the 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 Flinders Council.

"Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly noise from quarrying operations and blasting impacts," said Mr Jones.

"The activity must comply with noise limits for day, evening and night time periods and operate in accordance with those hours specified in the Quarry Code of Practice 2017," he said.

"In addition, a condition has been imposed to ensure the activity operates in accordance with an approved Blast Management Plan," Mr Jones said.

Eleven representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in May 2016. The environmental issues raised in these representations were related to noise from cartage of quarried materials, dust, and the potential to deposit fly rock (from blasting) and sediments (from stormwater runoff) on neighbouring land. Public consultation was open for a 28 day period commencing 11 February 2017.

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 the 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 Flinders 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