Today, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment posted their recommended conditions for approval of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion project onto their website.
We were advised with the following email from Genevieve Lucas, who has overseen this project from the beginning:
“The Department has now completed its merit assessment of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project.
I have just made the recommendation live on our Major Project’s website, so it will be available either now or very shortly.
NSW Planning’s Assessment
The Department has recommended that the application could be approved, subject to strict conditions of consent. This includes limitations on operating / product transport hours. The Department’s Assessment Report provides details of our recommendations and I encourage you to read this document as well as the recommended conditions of consent.
The application will now be considered and determined by the Independent Planning Commission of NSW. The Commission will undertake its own public engagement processes, and I encourage you to check their website for further information https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/ (it might be later on today that the project is available on their website).
It’s been a number of years that we have been in touch about this application and I appreciate all the inputs and updates you have provided.
I wish you all the best for the next steps, and as always, please contact me if you have any questions.
Resource Assessments, NSW Planning, Industry and Environment”
The link above provides access to three documents covering the department’s assessment. While I have not yet had time to read all the detail, a quick review and phone conversation with Genevieve enabled me make the some observations.
While everyone will have their own unique view on the proposed quarry expansion, I will limit my summary to the issues that BHSAG raised. Firstly, in its initial submission, which represented, as best we could, the consensus from the surveys and other feedback that we received from the community. The issues are listed with the most important first. later I will review the issues that BHSAG raised after Hanson provided its “Response to submissions”.
- Hanson wanted 24/7.
BHSAG pushed for the current 6am to 6pm 6 days per week.
The recommendation is much closer to what we wanted:
A12. Truck movements at the site (ie either arrival or dispatch) must not exceed:
(i) 18 movements between 5:00 am and 6:00 am;
(ii) 24 movements between 6:00 am and 7:00 am;
(iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm;
(iv) 10 movements per hour between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, on up to 20 evenings per calendar year; and
(v) 600 movements per calendar day;
- Hanson wanted 60 loaded truck dispatches per hour.
BHSAG pushed for 30, the current maximum.
Recommendation: The department has indirectly specified 30.
See: A12 (iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm (Which includes empty arrivals)
- Hanson wanted to process Batching plant waste.
BHSAG opposed it.
Recommendation: A10. The Applicant may receive and process up to 20,000 tonnes of concrete waste material at the site in each calendar year.
- BHSAG pushed for a significant increase in the road haulage levy, to better cover the cost of maintaining the many roads used by quarry trucks.
Outcome: I am told that the VPA with PSC includes a significant increase.
- BHSAG pushed for a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive.
The press release from Hanson advised that they will contribute toward the pathway. The departments recommendation:
$1.5 million towards the construction of a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive. Additionally, Hanson has agreed to provide all funding for the shared pathway within two years of the commencement of the Project.
- BHSAG pushed for additional bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive.
In response to these concerns, Hanson has agreed to implement a VPA with Council including:
$120,000 towards the construction of bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive, to be provided as an upfront payment of haulage levies required under Council’s contributions plan. The Department has recommended that existing product transport volumes (ie 700,000 tpa) are retained until the proposed bus bays are constructed.
Other items that BHSAG pushed for, but were not taken up were:
- Signage on Brandy Hill Drive regarding school children and “40 when lights flash”.
- Pedestrian crossing refuges on Brandy Hill Drive, near all side streets.
- Speed limit reduction to 60kph on Brandy Hill Drive and on Clarence Town Road near the quarry entrance. (Note that Clarence Town Road has recently been reduced to 80kph.
- Easily read truck ID, so that trucks breaking the “code of conduct” are more easily identified and reported. (This item will be discussed further at CC meetings).
- A system of monitoring trucks for noisy engine/exhausts.
Issues Subsequent to the above initial submission, BHSAG advised the department in November 2018 that Hanson’s Response to Submissions continued to be grossly inadequate. The concerns raised then and the current outcomes are summarised below.
Reject 24/7. There must be an overnight curfew of despatch and crushing.
Outcome: Largely success. See above.
Mandate the provision of safety and amenity infrastructure (separate from the haulage levy) for footpaths and bus stops.
Outcome: Bus bays must be built before Hanson exceeds the current output limit.
The Shared pathway must be funded within two years of the commencement of the new consent (irrespective of tonnage). Genevieve’s expectation is that PSC will expedite the construction over say 5 years.
Ensure the haulage levy covers all council road routes through PSC and MCC.
Outcome. Maitland Council is pursuing a VPA covering a haulage levy on MCC roads.
PSC have an agreed VPA with Hanson.
Increase the haulage levy because multiple haulage routes are used. PSC has to maintain over 30km of haul roads, and not just the 12km to the nearest state road at Raymond Terrace. The paltry ~$400,000 pa does not cover anywhere near the cost of maintaining that length of road where the vast majority of heavy vehicles are, and will increasingly be, fully laden quarry trucks. Note that our surveys and casual observation indicate that fewer than 15 heavy non gravel trucks use Brandy Hill Drive daily. So the proportion of the 718 daily gravel trucks on that route will be the vast majority.
Outcome: I understand there is a significant increase in the levy in the VPA with PSC.
Mandate dust and sound attenuation enclosures on all processing equipment from stage 1.
Outcome: I understand that all crushing equipment will be enclosed.
My initial appraisal of the department’s assessment, in terms of the issues raised by BHSAG, is that we have been successful to a much larger degree than expected. While not all our wishes are granted, the big ticket items of limiting hours of operation and hourly truck numbers, providing safety and amenity infrastructure in the bus bays and a pathway, and ensuring local councils are better funded to maintain our roads, have all been largely addressed.
BHSAG’s next challenge will be to present to the IPC, to ensure that the department’s recommendations are not watered down to appease Hanson, and where there are deficiencies, we will continue to push for conditions closer to what our community wants.
The BHSAG committee will need a little time to fully understand the department’s assessment, and decide on our next steps. We will keep you informed on that and the IPC timetable.
That’s all for now.