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February 28, 2021

Solar train case dropped

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A community action group’s case against the Byron Bay Railroad Company’s solar train has been dropped. File photo

Byron’s solar train appears to have cruised clear of its legal difficulties after a local residents’ group withdrew proceedings against the operators of the service.

On March 26 the Belongil Action Group Association formally withdrew their Land and Environment Court action against the operators of the train, the Byron Bay Railroad Company.

The residents launched proceedings in December last year, claiming that the operation of the train, which runs for three kilometres from Sunrise to Byron, involved a breach of environmental zoning rules.

They said that the small section of track which crossed Belongil Creek was covered by a W1 Natural Waterways zoning under the Byron Local Environment Plan and so was operating unlawfully.

Their action included a failed attempt to stop the train through an injunction application.

The Land and Environment Court’s Chief Judge Brian Preston dismissed this application. However, he noted that there was a ‘serious question to be tried in relation to the matter’.

In a statement, the group said it had chosen to withdraw because of ‘the burden of cost to community participants in prolonged litigation’.

The group had elected to take the Railroad Company ‘on trust’ but would ‘continue to work towards monitoring and ensuring a low impact environmentally sound service that meets community expectations’.

In its own statement, the Railroad Company said it had become apparent as the case went on that ‘BAGA’s legal argument was not strong and that Byron Bay Railroad Company were operating on a lawful basis.’

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