The Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded that Tasmanian Irrigation’s proposed White Hills quarry can be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner , within Launceston City Council’s municipality.

The proposal involved the extraction of up to a total of 300,000 cubic metres of clay (100,000m³) and general fill material (200,000m³) over a period of approximately six months from a quarry located at 970 Blessington Road, White Hills.

The purpose of the quarry is to supply construction material for the proposed Dalness Dam, which forms part of the North Esk Irrigation Scheme (NEIS).

The EPA Director, who made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, Mr Wes Ford said, “Various environmental issues were considered the assessment, particularly the management of stormwater and sediment control.”

Tasmanian Irrigation will be required to meet certain conditions, the EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Launceston City Council.

“Tasmanian Irrigation will be required to manage stormwater and sediments through the installation of perimeter drains and sediment settlement ponds, as it must ensure that any stormwater discharged from the land does not cause environmental harm or nuisance,” Mr Ford said.

“Air and noise emissions were also considered, and will be managed through the inclusion of a condition to ensure that dust does not cause environmental nuisance beyond the boundary of the land, and another condition requiring the activity to comply with the acceptable standards provision of the Quarry Code of Practice 1999,” Mr Ford said.

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 the EMPCA.

The Director’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Launceston City Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

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