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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Community gets a say in court review of Gloucester coal mine

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A recent photo taken on a site visit to the Gloucester mine. Photo supplied.

The community group Gloucester Groundswell has been fighting for a long hard 12 years against the Rocky Hill Coal project, a greenfield open cut coal mine at Gloucester. The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) have been in court arguing that the community should be allowed to participate in legal proceedings which will determine the fate of the Gloucester Resources Limited proposal for an open cut mine near the town.

During a full-day hearing on Friday last week, Gloucester Resources strongly opposed Gloucester Groundswell’s application to join the case, arguing the court should not hear from climate science and social impact experts in considering whether to approve the mine.

‘Clearly the Gloucester Resource group didn’t want the climate change impacts argued before the court,’ said said EDO NSW CEO David Morris.

Following a full-day hearing on Friday last week, the Land and Environment Court has agreed that the community group Gloucester Groundswell, has the right to participate in legal proceedings.

‘Our client is allowed in to Court,’ said Mr Morris.

‘They are allowed to bring in climate science experts to present evidence on the mine’s contribution to climate change; they are also allowed to present expert evidence of the mine’s detrimental impacts of dust and noise on the community, as well as how it will fracture the social fabric of Gloucester.’

The mine has been rejected by the planning assessment commission, the government is against the mine on land use planning and visual impacts and the community is against it on visual impact and climate change impact.

‘This appeal in which they [the community] will now play a key role, is the next step in this long journey,’ said Mr Morris.

The mining company appealed to the Court after the NSW Planning Assessment Commission in December 2017 found the mine was not in the public interest because of its proximity to the town of Gloucester, significant visual impact and because it directly contravened the area’s zoning plans.

If the mining company case is refused the could still take it to judicial review.

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