Decision made on controversial Byron bypass
BYRON Bay Council will resume work on a controversial bypass after a government department decision ruling in its favour.
The Federal Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) has upheld the council's decision to proceed with construction of the Byron Bay bypass confirming that the project does not require approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC).
The department informed the council it has assessed its environmental documentation and was satisfied the environmental offsets and controls in place are sufficient to prevent a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance.
"In 2016, council elected not to refer the Byron Bay bypass project to the DoEE for approval under the EBPC Act, following advice from independent ecologists who assessed the biodiversity impacts of the project," Byron Shire Council's general manager, Mark Arnold, said.
"The assessment in 2016 found the bypass project would not have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance and council's position has been further vindicated by DoEE's decision," Mr Arnold said.
"We look forward to getting on with the job now and delivering this important piece of infrastructure for our community."
The council submitted referral documentation to the Department of Environment and Energy in October 2019, following allegations that the Byron Bay bypass was in breach of the EPBC Act.
"To remove all doubt, and to obtain official confirmation of our original assessment, council referred the project documentation to the DoEE," Mr Arnold said.
"The DoEE is satisfied with our existing offsets and mitigation measures that were already planned to be implemented as part of the construction process," he said.
"The referral process has not resulted in any new environmental conditions or constraints on the project, providing we undertake the mitigation measures that we had already planned to as part of the project" he said.
"As we've said all along, council is committed to going above and beyond when it comes to environmental management on this project.
"One way we're doing this is by increasing the number of hours spent on the ground as part of our Mitchell's Rainforest Snail habitat pre-clearing protocol, and enhancing additional areas of habitat for this important threatened species" he said.
Stage 1 on the Byron Bay bypass project is nearing completion and Stage 2 will commence when the required resources become available.
A link to the DoEE correspondence is available on council's website at www.byron.nsw.gov.au/byronbypass