Cessnock Council in court over failure to protect critically endangered species

Cessnock Council in court over failure to protect critically endangered species

 A Regent Honey Eater feeding a chick in the Hunter Economic Zone.
Cessnock City Council has been taken to the Land & Environment Court over its failure to protect the environment.
Residents’ group Friends of Tumblebee have filed a summons in the court claiming the Council’s decision to approve a development in the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) without the appropriate studies is invalid. An initial court date of 7 February has been set by the Court.
Friends of Tumblebee President James Ryan said ‘The Council’s decision to allow bushland to be cleared in an area in which the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater bird breeds, without the required detailed report, is irresponsible.’
‘It is even more shocking that a majority of Cessnock Councillors voted to approve this development despite the clear written advice of Council’s professional staff that the development should be refused and that an approval would place the Council at risk of legal action.’
‘Cessnock Council is taking an anti environment position.’ said Mr Ryan. ‘This latest decision to approve a development in the controversial industrial estate comes after a majority of Councillors also refused to adopt a Biodiversity Strategy, with some saying openly that they were opposed to it because it would restrict development.’
‘There are areas where we can choose to approve development that doesn’t damage the environment.’ said Mr Ryan. ‘Unfortunately critically endangered species such as the Regent Honeyeater, of which there are estimated to be only 350 – 400 remaining, do not have the same choices.’
‘It is not good enough for Cessnock Council to approve more habitat destruction when the evidence shows that there is a significant risk its actions will drive the Regent Honeyeater towards extinction.’
‘We appreciate the assistance of the Environmental Defenders Office in representing the Friends of Tumblebee. Given that the NSW Government does not allow legal aid to community groups for public interest environmental action, we are appealing to the public to help us save the habitat of the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. Please visit Friends of Tumblebee website for more information on how to donate.’
James Ryan
President, Friends of Tumblbee
0414 922 591

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