EPA chairman Paul Vogel said conditional approval for the project, which will cut through wetlands in Bibra Lake, had been granted because Main Roads had set a new standard for major projects in this type of sensitive environment.
‘It is also important to note that from the outset, the proponent has recognised the regionally significant environmental values of the area and has sought to apply innovative planning and design measures, and construction techniques to the proposal,’ he said.
Some conditions set by the EPA include the creation of an offset package of restoration work; limiting ground water abstraction and construction of a 120m-long bridge over Roe Swamp. Main Roads will also need to provide infrastructure plans detailing road alignments and designs prior to construction.
Greens MLC Lynn Mac- Laren said her party would be digging in its heels, calling the EPA’s decision nonsensical.
‘The Greens are hugely against this ridiculously expensive extension of Roe Highway through one of Perth’s most pristine wetlands, home to iconic species of the Swan Coastal Plain,’ she said.
‘The EPA’s decisions are so nonsensical it is mind-boggling.
‘Why are they giving an approval on an extension that is so costly to our environment?’
Save the Beeliar Wetlands group spokeswoman Nandi Chinna said she was disappointed by the EPA’s decision.
She said she did not believe the people of WA would support spending $700 million on five kilometres of road that could destroy highly valued wetlands.