Media Release: Threatened species laws to be tested
A residents group will take Cessnock City Council to court this week to challenge its approval of a proposed steel fabrication facility in an area of forest which is habitat to a critically endangered bird species, the Regent Honeyeater.
The case will be heard on the 20th and 21st of August.
The group, Friends of Tumblebee, represented by the EDONSW, will ask the NSW Land & Environment Court to rule that the clearing of approximately 3 hectares of bushland in part of an 870ha industrial estate will put the species at greater risk of extinction.
The Hunter Valley industrial estate is one of only two places in NSW that the Regent Honeyeater has been recorded as successfully nesting in the past 10 years. Experts believe there are only 350 – 400 Regent Honeyeaters remaining, a decline of over 80% in the past 18 years.
Friends of Tumblebee argue that the proposed development is likely to significantly affect the Regent Honeyeater, therefore the development application should have been accompanied by a Species Impact Statement (SIS), to assist the Council in deciding whether or not to approve the development. At the time Cessnock City Council approved the development, the application was not accompanied by a SIS.
The president of Friends of Tumblebee, James Ryan, said: ‘In my opinion the bushland should not have been rezoned in the first place.
‘We are asking the Court to find that in such a sensitive case as this, every development, no matter the size, has to take into account the cumulative impact on threatened species.
‘We are also asking the Court to make a finding that impact assessment on critically endangered species, like the Regent Honeyeater, should be more precautionary given such species are on the brink of extinction.
‘Friends of Tumblebee is bringing the case as it is very concerned about the survival of the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.’ said Mr Ryan.