The Department of Planning and Environment has refused to support the development for a waste-to-energy facility, proposed for Eastern Creek, and has referred the application to the Independent Planning Commission for final decision.
Next Generation’s original development application was for a facility to thermally treat up to 1.35 million tonnes of residual waste per year to make energy at Eastern Creek in Sydney’s west.
Following feedback received from independent experts and government agencies and community concern, the proposal was reduced to thermally treat 552,500 tonnes of residual waste per year – half its original size.
Deputy Secretary for Planning Services, Marcus Ray, said the department assessed the application on its merits and in accordance with relevant NSW policies and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
“The Department has referred its assessment to the Commission and found the proposed energy from waste facility should be refused based on advice received from independent experts and government agencies, including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Health NSW,” Mr Ray said.
NSW Health has advised it is unable to support the proposal in its current form while the EPA has advised the proposal is inconsistent with the NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement (2015).
Key concerns were raised throughout the public exhibition period regarding the proposal’s impacts on local air quality, the risk to human health and the proposed facility’s proximity to residential houses.
Mr Ray said the department received about 1000 submissions from the local community, special interest groups, councils and government authorities.
“In considering the issues raised by EPA, NSW Health and advice from our experts, together with the lack of community acceptance for the application, the department’s assessment has concluded the proposal is inconsistent with the NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement (2015) and the potential impacts on human health are unknown.”
A determination by the commission is expected to be made in July 2018.