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Community and council concerns lead to change of plans for waste incinerator

A waste recycling and reprocessing company has changed its application and withdrawn part of its plans to build a waste-to-energy plant/incinerator at its Ipswich mine site after council and community concerns.

Jackal Renewables Pty Ltd applied to Ipswich City Council in April 2018 for a special industry (waste recycling and reprocessing – waste transfer station, crushing, milling or grinding), minor utility, caretakers residence and environmentally relevant activity at its Rhondda Road, New Chum property.

The company made an application to develop a site to manufacture mineral mulch and other products from fibre cement waste products, treat acid sulphate soils, have a waste transfer station for construction and demolition waste, build a co-generation plant for producing electricity, among other proposed uses for the site. 

In September 2019, Jackal Renewables changed its application to council. Acting General Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services Brett Davey said the change to the application was submitted in response to issues raised by council in an information request and also more than 50 submissions received during the public notification period. 

Public concerns included:
• Dirty form of electricity production.
• Emissions from co-generation plant will be released straight into the atmosphere.
• Burning of green waste is difficult to burn and smokey.
• Breathing in wood smoke can cause a number of serious respiratory and cardiovascular health problems.
• MDF from construction and demolition waste contains a known carcinogen.
• Burning of diesel proposed.
• 24 hours per day, 7 days a week operation will increase respiratory illnesses in the area.
• Smoke will be detrimental to the health of the residences that live close to the development.
• Waste incineration is expensive and the least efficient way to generate energy.
• Waste incineration is polluting and worsens climate change. 

“Since public notification took place, the applicant has changed the application to remove the co-generation plant. Accordingly, concerns relating to this aspect of the use are no longer applicable,” Mr Davey said.

“An assessment of the (new application) has been undertaken and it has been determined that the proposed development generally complies with the assessment benchmarks or can be conditioned to comply as outlined in the statement of reasons.

“It is therefore recommended that this development application be decided in accordance with the recommendations and attachments of (the council) report.”

Mr Davey said it was a good result for the community and dealt with concerns raised in the 52 public submissions.

While council manages the land use aspects of the development application, the proposed use includes environmentally relevant activities which will be administered and enforced by the Department of Environment and Science.

The proposal will be decided at the next council meeting, Tuesday 10 December.

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