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Ipswich City Council rejects higher landfill pile at Swanbank site

A waste disposal company which wanted to add a five-metre mound of rubbish to its landfill through a change of approval application has been refused permission by Ipswich City Council.

Bio-Recycle Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Better Grow (Bio-Recycle), has a landfill site for non-putrescibe waste at its Memorial Drive, Swanbank facility.

The existing approval allows for the disposal of items such as construction and demolition wastes, and clean fill, and may contain limited amounts of acid sulphate soils, asbestos contaminated soil, asbestos sheeting, and drill mud.

Bio-Recycle had sought to increase the landfill height from the approved existing level – the top of an old coal mine void – by five metres by changing the existing approval.

A previous application to council to increase it by 27m had been rejected in January 2018 and is now the subject of an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.

Bio-Recycle subsequently applied to council for a minor change of 5m which would take the mound above the existing natural ground level.

“This increase in landfill height is likely to have visual impacts, particularly with regard to future residential observers, including those likely to be living within residential high density built forms envisaged within the Ripley Valley Urban Core residential area,” a council spokesman said.

“No consideration has been given to these visual impacts of the landfill during the operational or establishment phase.

“The applicant has also failed to demonstrate that there is a need to extend the life of the existing facility by increasing the landfill height from the approved level.”

At the time of issuing the original landfill approval council was not experiencing the same level of interest and community complaints about amenity impacts (including odour, noise and dust) from operating landfill facilities.

“The subject site is in the Swanbank/New Chum – Waste Activity Area of Temporary Local Planning Instrument No. 1 of 2018 (Waste Activity Regulation). The proposed expansion is inconsistent with the overall outcomes/purpose of the Swanbank/New Chum Waste Activity Code as it is likely to have a significant impact on visual amenity from residential and other sensitive receiving uses.”

The 5m mound would extend beyond the top of the former mining void therefore the proposal fails to demonstrate compliance with the specific outcomes of the TLPI.

“Waste related activities including landfills have attracted significant attention from the community in the last two to three years. Lately council has received a large amount of submissions for waste related development applications and a large number of community complaints about amenity impacts (including odour, noise) from currently operating landfill facilities.

“The subject proposal has not demonstrated that the concerns raised by the community have been or can be appropriately managed. Furthermore, the submission of this change application appears to be an attempt by the applicant to remove community consultation rights.”

Council said the proposed changes would result in a substantially different development to that which is currently permitted and it would change the ability of the proposed development to operate as intended and introduce new impacts or increase the severity of known impacts including but not limited to visual and environmental nuisances.

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