The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the construction of a new road through old-growth forest at Whian Whian to enable logging in an area surrounded by endangered species.
On Monday Echonetdaily revealed the planned road would run through a grove of critically endangered Bopple Nut trees.
But the EPA says it has discussed the issue with the Forestery Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) and the organisation is ‘aware of it its responsibilities’.
It added the Corporation was ‘now considering its operations in light of the reported threatened species’.
Echonetdaily understands an adjacent landowner has withdrawn permission for the use of their road to access the logging site.
During heavy rains last week, existing forestry roads were heavily eroded, according to a group of local concerned residents from Crescent Moon Protection Group.
Together with the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), Crescent Moon have been calling on the EPA to intervene after discovering a range of threatened flora and fauna on the property.
But the EPA, whose officers visited the site last week and again yesterday, told Echonetdaily that logging is approved under a private native forestry property vegetation plan (PNF PVP) issued by the organisation on November 29 last year.
‘EPA officers visited the property on September 19 to carry out an inspection to assess threatened species prescriptions and to ensure the Forestry Corporation of NSW is aware of its responsibilities,’ a spokesperson told Echonetdaily.
‘FCNSW is now considering its operations in light of the reported threatened species. FCNSW must apply the relevant prescriptions as required by the PNF Code of Practice for Northern NSW.
‘The EPA is aware that FCNSW may now need to construct a few hundred metres of new road in order to access the site, which is permitted under the PNF Code of Practice provided relevant prescriptions to protect known threatened species are applied.
‘The EPA has received additional reports of threatened species on the site since the inspection on 19 September. EPA officers carried out a site inspection yesterday (Tuesday September 24) and discussed these matters with FCNSW to ensure it understands the requirements of the PNF Code of Practice in relation to the construction of a road.
‘The EPA understands the community interest in these activities and will continue to monitor compliance with the Code of Practice.’
Environment minister Robyn Parker says she has faith in the EPA.
‘The EPA has, absolutely, my confidence,’ she told ABC radio this morning.
‘They are, under our government, a standalone statutory authority. They have more approvals… more opportunity to get in and be the watchdog instead of the lapdog that they were under the former government.’