EPA considers proposal for Artec Woodchip Mill Upgrade, Bell Bay

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Artec Pty Ltd for the upgrade of its woodchip mill at Bell Bay in George Town Council municipality.

Artec already operates the woodchip mill at the Bell Bay site with a production limit of 600,000 bone dry metric tonnes of woodchips per annum.  The proposal is for ongoing use of a diesel woodchipper on a regular basis until such time as a second electric chipper is installed and approved for commercial operation. No change to the production limit is proposed.

The EPA Executive Director, Martin Read, 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 Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by George Town Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly the impacts of noise from use of a diesel chipper and combined impacts from the use of multiple chippers on nearby sensitive receptors. A number of management measures are included to mitigate this, including daytime only operation of the diesel chipper and an operational review to ensure the installation of the second electric chipper" Dr Read said.

No public representations were received for the permit application, with two comments received from agencies. The environmental issues raised included discharge of stormwater runoff to Bell Bay, and to adjacent utility easements. Public consultation was open for 28 days from 4 June 2022.

The proposal was considered by the Executive 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, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.

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

The Executive Director's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the proponent, George Town Council.

The decision in relation to Artec Woodchip Mill Upgrade​​ can be viewed on this website.

Published on: 3/01/2023