The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is recommending a proposal from the Public Transport Authority to extend the existing Thornlie rail line to Cockburn Central Station for environmental approval.
EPA Chair Dr Tom Hatton said although the new rail track would be within the existing rail corridor between the Kwinana Freeway and Albany Highway, with new stations at Ranford and Nicholson Roads, the Thornlie-Cockburn Link would have an impact on the environment, but these impacts could be managed and mitigated through a number of conditions.
“The EPA has concluded an assessment of the rail line proposal, which includes the construction and operation of 14.5 kilometers of railway, two new train stations, modifications to the existing Thornlie and Cockburn Central train stations and the duplication of a rail bridge over the Canning River,” Dr Hatton said.
“The EPA is recommending a number of conditions to be implemented if the proposal is to proceed, and these include actions to reduce noise levels for nearby residences, offsets for the clearing of native vegetation on Bush Forever sites and the monitoring and management of any impacts to cockatoo habitat.”
The Thornlie-Cockburn Link is a key component of the State Government’s METRONET project and the new rail track will connect the existing Thornlie rail line to the Mandurah line at Cockburn Centre Station.
The EPA has also recommended the PTA provide offsets to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to Banksia woodlands, Bush Forever, black cockatoos, wetlands and Caladenia huegelii (grand orchid spider) habitat.
To reduce noise and vibration impacts to surrounding residents and businesses, the PTA has proposed mitigation measures including the construction of 4 metre noise walls, installation of ballast matting and noise level monitoring.
Dr Hatton said the proposal was considered in the context of its highly urbanised surroundings, which included an existing freight rail corridor already in operation.
“The noise and vibration mitigation measures proposed by the PTA will reduce the noise emission levels and we have recommended the PTA continue to consult with nearby residents on the final dimensions and configurations of noise walls.” Dr Hatton said.
As part of the EPA’s assessment, the proposal was open to public review for four weeks.
The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing 26 August. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au
The Minister for Environment will make the final decision. EPA Report 1646 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
EPA Media Contact: Vivienne Ryan on 0400 866 450