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EPA approves controversial Lara facility

December 6, 2023 1:35 pm in by
An artist's impression of the waste-to-energy plant [Engage Victoria]

The EPA has approved a controversial waste to energy facility in Lara, over two years since the proposal went before the community for consultation.

The environmental watchdog on Wedensday granted the development licence to Prospect Hill to allow the company to construct and commission the facility ‘under strict conditions.’

The initial proposal for the facility received public backlash from Lara locals, after around 100 people attended a Q&A panel hearing on the issue at the Lara Golf Club in August.

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A show of hands from locals when asked who was opposed to the incinerator project (supplied).

State Greens MP Sarah Mansfield said at the time many locals were concerned about the health impacts the facitily would have, given its close proximity to a residential area.

“I think this is really disturbing for the local community out there,” Ms Manfield said.

Prospect Hill plan to process around 400,000 tonnes of waste per year and generate 35 megawatts of electricity and estimates the facility could power up to 50,000 homes and take residual wastes currently destined for landfill.

One of the ‘strict’ conditions of the development license is for the company to develop and implement an engagement plan for the life of the project to ensure the community is informed about all stages of this project.

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EPA’s Director of Permissioning and Development Con Lolis said EPA considered all input from community and stakeholders in its assessment of the development licence application.

“Our review and assessment of this licence was based the best available science, technical review of similar facilities around the world and application of Victoria’s Environment Protection Act 2017,” Mr Lolis said.

“This licence was granted with conditions because EPA has determined the proposed facility will meet the most stringent international standards and presents low and acceptable risk to human health and the environment,” he said.

“EPA will continue to regulate the site throughout the design, construction and commissioning phases to ensure the company meets all environmental performance requirements, keeps the community informed and complies with the conditions of the development licence.

“If the company fails to do so, the project will cease because the requirements imposed by EPA in the development licence have not been met.”

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