Industrial area dust mitigation push hits buffers

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


VCAT rejects EPA-backed Brimbank Council effort to seal roads affecting 60 industries

Industrial area dust mitigation push hits buffers
EPA’s preferred option remains for both roads to be sealed

 

There is no end in sight to dust levels in Melbourne’s industrial precinct as plans to seal two crucial roads have been put on hold.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has rejected Brimbank Council’s attempt to argue the sealing of Jones Road would benefit only businesses and not the community and that businesses therefore should pay $2 million towards the estimated $3.1 million cost.

Last year, the government pledged $900,000 to help seal Bunting and Jones roads that border the industrial estate.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) spokesman Terry Sefton says while EPA’s preferred option remains for both roads to be sealed, it will await alternatives from councils as they find ways to managing dust levels.

"EPA will continue to work with local councils and VicRoads to ensure interim processes and procedures are in place for the maintenance of local roads to manage dust impacts in the short term," Sefton says.

Brimbank Council’s infrastructure and environment acting director Adrian Gray says the council will work with land owners and the government to identify options for constructing Jones and Bunting roads to acceptable conditions.

"Having received VCAT’s order to set aside the Jones Road special charge, council is considering the options for pursuing the Burning Road special charge," Gray says.

"In exploring the way forward with roads in Brooklyn, council has met with local interest groups and landowners to canvass options.

"Council is also reviewing the extent of the works to determine if value can be achieved by constructing a lesser standard of works or a reduced scope."

The EPA has been monitoring dust levels in the area since 2009.

More than 30 pollution abatement notices have been issued in Brooklyn and Tottenham – home to more than 60 industries, including quarrying, a former landfill, abattoirs, material recycling, tallow producers and container storage, many of which use trucks.

The EPA has found industrial activity and unsealed roads to be the major cause of dust and has served the transport industry with more than 50 dust notices since 2010.

Operators have been asked to implement management plans and permanent engineered controls to minimise dust.

The EPA will be keeping an eye on companies by operating a dust monitoring unit which will take place in Brooklyn in the coming months, Sefton says.

"The mobile dust monitoring unit can be operated from a vehicle and driven around at times of dust occurrence to help EPA identify sources," he adds.

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