Bruce champions anti-dairy cause

ONE of the key opponents to the dairy intensification proposal at Raleigh says the parent company itself invited the level of scrutiny it is now coming under.

Repton resident Bruce Champion said the community was alerted to environmental issues by Raleigh Dairy Holdings’ own statement of environmental impact.

“RDH alerted us to the fact their current effluent management practices were ‘unsatisfactory’ and posed an ‘unacceptable environmental risk’ in the EIS with their development application,” Mr Champion said.

“We are merely confirming what they have stated.”

Mr Champion was referring to comments made last week (CCA 12/8/11) by Bellingen Council’s director of planning, Charlie Hannavy, that RDH was receiving an “unfortunate level of scrutiny”.

The scrutiny however has revealed current practices at the dairy which breach the original approval conditions for the quantity and placement of irrigated effluent. These breaches are now being remedied.

Last week the council received a further report from Mr Champion alleging high levels of sulphuric acid and aluminium entering the Bellingen River from drains that run through the dairy. The council is investigating the test results.

Mr Champion has also questioned the council’s practice of requiring Environmental Management Plans to be submitted after the possible approval of an application.

“The Department of Primary Industry ‘best practice’ guidelines advise an EMP should be an essential part of an application,” he said.

“It seems odd that no EMP is required given this proposal is for a 33% increase in herd size and a 2871% increase in effluent volume.”

The council’s general manager, Liz Jeremy, said it was normal for the council to ask for the EMP as a condition of any consent that may be issued if the development was approved.

“That way if there are other conditions to be met, they can also be incorporated into the EMP,” Mrs Jeremy said.

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