• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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Environment Office a toothless tiger when it comes to rainforest protection.

A major development on the NSW mid-north coast that will see the villages of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills connected with residential and commercial buildings, has been approved.

 “However the approval fails to apply the 100m buffer required to protect littoral (coastal) rainforest,” said NCEC President Susie Russell.

“The site includes one of the largest littoral (coastal) rainforest remnants and it is in relatively good condition. Littoral rainforest is rare now, is an Endangered Ecological Community, and also has a special State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP 26) to ensure it is adequately recognised and protected.

“The SEPP requires that land within 100m of the rainforest shall be a buffer and should not be developed,” she said.

“The Littoral rainforest on the Lake Cathie/ Bonny Hills site is barely 100m in width. The development will have an average buffer of 47m and in some parts will have no buffer, with the road easement hard against the rainforest edge. The developers suggest that the road should be considered as part of the buffer!

“The Office of the Environment and Heritage made 2 submissions to the development pointing out that a 100m buffer was required. The Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority did the same. The developer and the Planning Department ignored them both and accepted the development proposal with less than half the buffer required by the SEPP.

“As the Northern Rivers CMA said in their submission, ‘the beach is subject to coastal erosion and recession’. When I visited the site on Sunday this was clearly apparent,” Ms Russell said.

“We can expect to see the extent of the rainforest diminish over time as higher tides eat away the vegetation on the coastal side. A100m buffer is to allow the rainforest to extend to the west over time and protect it from development impacts.

“This development approval with its pathetic rainforest buffer once again demonstrates that the NSW Government pays only lip-service to environmental protection and the Office of Environment and Heritage, responsible for providing advice on, and policing environmental policy and law, is ignored by the Department of Planning in its considerations.

For the environmental assets of NSW it is a death of many thousands of cuts,” Ms Russell said.

 

For the OEH submission see: https://majorprojects.affinitylive.com/public/31d6e14bac4c70d32a0c91f71c926b2e/OE&H%20response_%20EEC.pdf

For the NR CMA submission see: https://majorprojects.affinitylive.com/public/10f19c2479da689b465c9094f3509aec/Northern%20Rivers%20Catchment%20Management%20Authority.pdf

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