Tweed Shire Council has found unauthorised clearing in the Environmental Protection Zone in Limpinwood by landowner, Hewittville Holdings.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have confirmed with Echonetdaily that they have ‘asked the landholder to cease logging operations on the property,’ said an EPA spokesperson.
‘The EPA has become aware of recent allegations about the harvesting operation, and will be conducting a joint site inspection with Tweed shire council as soon as it can be organised.’
Locals had raised the alarm in early September and Tweed shire council then unanimously supported action to ask the EPA and state government to investigate the site on September 7.
Concerns were raised about logging in environmental protection zones, specifically in relation to koala habitat trees being felled, previous unauthorised works by the landholder creating significant environmental damage and noise and dust impact on neighbours from the logging trucks.
The EPA has stated that they have been monitoring the operation since it started and it ‘has included three site visits since May 2017.’
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) inspected the property on September 9 and ‘documented logging and roading within the 7(d) Environmental Zone and roading and tree removal within the 7(l) Environmental Zone. Extensive operations had occurred within the 7(d) zone and they were still active,’ they said in a statement today.
‘NEFA also found that there was grossly inadequate drainage of roads and snig-tracks, with extensive erosion and stream pollution likely in the next rainfall event. The EPA had also apparently not noticed the widespread failure to implement erosion mitigation works, and that was their responsibility.’
NEFA have identified high use koala trees, extensive use of grey gums on the site, the presence of a mother and baby identified by scat sizes, marbled frogmouths and a masked owl. On September 12 a koala was found on a nearby property near Boorman’s Road that has no surrounding forest or koala trees. Friends of the Koala were notified to ensure the koalas safety along with the previous koala, Paris, that was also displaced by the logging.
‘NEFA considers the private native forestry code (PNF) requires that: stream exclusions be increased by ten meters on first and second order streams for marbled frogmouths throughout the logging area; an additional ten of the largest trees be retained per two hectares within 1km of the masked owl record; and ten primary koala food trees and five secondary koala food trees be retained per hectare, and 20m buffers be placed around the two koala high use trees that NEFA identified from a minimum sample.’