Andy Baker – May 16 2014
In late 2012, over 27,000 hectares of the far north coast’s unique forests, wetlands and wildlife habitats were to be protected under Local Environmental Plans.
But the State Government halted the process, saying these environmental assets should remain open for residential and agricultural development.
It excised all proposed environmental protection zones (E2, E3 and E4) from Tweed, Byron , Ballina, Lismore & Kyogle Shires subject to a Review of the zones.
However the interim Review released this week supports use of the zones and overlays in Local Environment Plans.
Save North Coast Nature welcomes the Review’s support for EZones and overlays, and spokesperson Andy Baker says “this is a win for common sense and a win for the facts and the evidence”.
NEFA spokesperson, Dailan Pugh, said now that the Government has gone back to the community, looked at the science, looked at the evidence and been advised that high conservation value native vegetation needs to be protected in Environmental Zones they need to stop procrastinating and help Councils get on with the job.
While we welcome the review’s confirmation of the need to protect high conservation value vegetation, we do not support its recommendations to downgrade the zoning of rainforest, oldgrowth forest, wetlands, mangroves and riparian vegetation from E2 to E3. These are all of exceptional conservation value and deserve the highest protection.
We also consider that primary Koala habitat identified in a Koala plan of Management should be included in an E2 zone rather than just as an environmental overlay.
We also call upon the Government to support the review’s recommendation that all land designated within an environment zone should be a priority area for the application of incentive based mechanisms, including financial incentives, rate rebates, management assistance, and local award schemes.
We are asking the community to speak up again for full protection of our highest conservation value vegetation. Submissions on Northern Councils EZone Review Interim Report are due by the 5 June 2014.
Voice your support today by sending a brief submission to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. Download the submission guide here.