The Forrestfield Airport Link, which will extend Perth’s rail network, has been recommended for conditional approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.
The Public Transport Authority’s overall project to extend the line from the Bayswater Station/Midland Line to Forrestfield includes three stations (Airport West, Consolidated Airport and Forrestfield), twin bored tunnels of about 8km passing under the Swan River and car parks. A re-alignment of Dundas Road, cross passages and emergency exits are also included in the project.
As part of the project is on Perth Airport Land, it is subject to a separate assessment and approvals process under Commonwealth legislation and did not form part of the proposal assessed by the EPA.
The proposal, which was assessed as an Assessment on Proponent Information – category A, provides for a more streamlined environmental assessment process where the proponent has undertaken work upfront.
EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said that potential environmental impacts on flora and vegetation at the Forrestfield station were identified as the key factor requiring evaluation by the EPA. Offsets were also specified to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to flora and vegetation.
“The proposal directly impacts on the ‘Banksia woodlands over species rich dense shrublands’ community, identified as a threatened ecological community because it is very restricted,” Dr Vogel said.
The proponent has adequately demonstrated why it cannot avoid this community and is committed to providing an offset to mitigate the impacts.
“As a result of EPA’s assessment of these potential impacts, we were able to conclude that the proposal could be managed to meet our environmental objectives, subject to the implementation of several conditions.”
Conditions recommended include:
- a Flora and Vegetation Monitoring and Management Plan to ensure no adverse direct or indirect impacts to Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) outside of the Forrestfield Development Envelope, at Poison Gully Creek and Lot 12 Ibis Place - from the temporary dewatering and recharge activities; and
- an offset strategy to counterbalance the direct loss of 1.6 hectares of a TEC and 25 plants of a rare flora species.
The EPA confirmed that detailed management plans for construction dewatering, acid sulfate soils and spoil would be managed by the Department of Water and the Department of Environment Regulation.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing July 27, 2015. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au. The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.
EPA Report 1553 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
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