05/02/2009 - 16:36

More clauses for Binningup desal plant

05/02/2009 - 16:36

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Environment Minister Donna Faragher has indicated she will set more stringent conditions for the proposed desalination plant at Binningup, to ensure protection of the surrounding bushland and marine environment.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher has indicated she will set more stringent conditions for the proposed desalination plant at Binningup, to ensure protection of the surrounding bushland and marine environment.

Mrs Faragher said she had partly allowed 13 appeals following consideration of the report from the Appeals Convenor in respect to the Water Corporation's proposed Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.

"In October 2008, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended approval for the proposal, provided there was satisfactory implementation of the recommended conditions," she said.

Following the EPA report, the appeals received raised a number of environmental concerns, including the impact on native flora and fauna, wetlands and the marine environment as well as the general impact on the coastal environment.

"In light of these concerns, I have strengthened the conditions to ensure protection for native flora and fauna, marine mammals and the coastal environment, including the increase of the marine mammal temporary exclusion zone from 500m to one kilometre," the Minister said.

Additional conditions include the following requirements of the Water Corporation:

- Demonstrate the water transfer pipeline is aligned so it avoids and/or minimises identified declared flora populations prior to commencing construction
- Report activities and management actions relating to the Western Ringtail Possum throughout the construction phase
- Establish a beach exclusion zone, incorporating a zone 200m north and south of the pipeline alignment on the beach during construction. If marine mammals are sighted in this zone, a watcher will be appointed to ensure that the mammal is not harmed by construction activities, or that activities will cease if necessary.

Mrs Faragher said that in her consideration of the appeals, she noted that the EPA's recommended conditions required the Water Corporation to monitor environmental impacts during construction and operations.

"Since the release of the EPA assessment report, the Water Corporation has further defined the plant design, which results in retention of important possum habitat, reduction in impacts on a nearby wetland and putting intake and discharge pipelines underground," she said.

"Some residents were concerned about the location of the proposed plant. This is a matter for planning authorities to consider in the planning processes," she said.

Mrs Faragher said she would consult with key agencies on the Ministerial conditions that should apply to the proposal.

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