Byron protection zones under threat by government move

Byron Bay lighthouse looking back towards Byron Bay
Byron Bay lighthouse looking back towards Byron Bay David Nielsen

THE NSW Resources Department has called for Byron Shire's environmental protection zones to be cut in areas where they interfere with mining and gas exploration and extraction.

In a recent submission received during the public exhibition of Byron's draft Local Environmental Plan, the department takes issue with "blanket heritage declarations" over whole properties in rural Byron Shire.

"Nothing in the draft LEP should have an adverse impact on the exploration or utilisation of energy resources, particularly with regard to the Clarence-Moreton Basin," the document said.

Local environmental group Save North Coast Nature spokesman Andy Baker said the submission was "ominously paving the way" for CSG industry expansion in the shire.

The Resources Department also objected to E2 zones - which give the highest protection for ecologically significant land outside National Parks and state forests - overlapping current and potential quarry operations.

It named several current and future quarries in Byron Shire which would be restricted under E2 zoning.

"Council lacks sufficient extractive resources to ensure a sustainable supply of extractive resource materials to the shire," it argued. The department also requested minimum lot sizes of 100ha on rural land, and said E3 and E4 zones should permit open cut mining "considered onmerit".

"The prospect of open-cut mines is particularly outrageous in E4 zones, given they all occur within densely populated residential areas," Mr Baker said.

The outcomes of the recent E zone review are not expected before May this year.



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