Mandogalup: EPA to assess plans to clear endangered woodland

Mandogalup: EPA to assess plans to clear endangered woodland

THE Environmental Protection Authority will use its highest level of assessment – a public review – to consider a proposal for clearing protected banksia woodlands and the expansion of an existing sand quarry in Mandogalup at Lot 1 and 10 Rowley Road.

The proposal covers 43.67 ha of freehold land to extract sand at a rate of 195,000 tonnes per annum for a period of 10 years.

EPA plans to clear woodland

Proponent Questdale Holdings Pty Ltd also wants to clear about 33.74ha of banskia woodlands, which is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The EPA said it would consider air quality, social surroundings, flora and vegetation, and terrestrial fauna.

The woodlands provide a foraging habitat for the Carnaby’s cockatoo and the forest red-tailed black cockatoo. It is anticipated that clearing would involve the removal of 54 potential nesting habitat trees.

Steve Sturgeon, from the Casuarina Wellard Progress Association, said there was a fundamental flaw in the whole clearing permit application and approval process.

“Each site is being addressed and assessed as a single entity, instead of assessing the cumulative impact this clearing is having on the banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain,” he said.

“The Mandogalup clearing permit application is one of four that we are currently opposed to.

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“The others are Lots 53 and 1320 Banksia Road, Wellard, Lot 6 Banksia Road, Lot 300 and Lot 301 Boomerang Road, Oldbury, and Lot 123 Mortimer Road Wellard.

“We have already lost 70 per cent of the banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain and unless there is a fundamental change to the whole assessment process, we will see the extinction of many species within our lifetime.”

An EPA spokeswoman said the EPA may have regard to the cumulative impacts.

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“These matters may be considered at both the local and regional scale,” she said. “The EPA is not involved with clearing permits but notes that clearing permits consider similar policy and approaches for impacts to conservation significant flora and fauna.

“The banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain was listed as a threatened ecological community on September 16, 2016, by the Commonwealth Government and the EPA has considered this in its recent assessments, including assessing the proponent’s consideration of the mitigation hierarchy and the application of conditions.”