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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Byron Council’s biobanking flawed

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Jan Barham, Broken Head

Byron Council, as bypass developer, is using biobanking to allow destruction of a SEPP (State Environment Planning Policy) 14 wetland area, two Endangered Ecological Communities, and impacting on threatened fauna.

SEPP 14 Wetlands was introduced in 1985 with an aim to ‘ensure that coastal wetlands are preserved and protected’ and restrict development, specifically, that ‘a person shall not: clear that land, construct a levee, drain or fill that land’. Council will be excavating and placing 30,000 cubic metres of fill in the wetland.

The introduction of biobanking in 2008 allows the destruction of precious sites that can be offset to ‘improve and maintain’ biodiversity values on other lands is ecological nonsense.

Information provided by Council to the government for the bypass biobanking application failed to consider all biodiversity values. Therefore the approval is flawed.

The bypass is an expensive and damaging project that will degrade a high-biodiversity area, create a 30m-wide scar, impact on local heritage, and on flooding and drainage for the town.

The bypass proposal is outdated by current standards of restricting traffic and protecting, not destroying, our precious environment in a time of species extinction.

It’s obvious that the level of scrutiny Council would apply to a ‘developer’ proposal has not been applied to their own project.

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