Developer fined $80,000 for clearing native vegetation
Media release: 23 April 2012
Property developer, Walker Corporation Pty Ltd has been found guilty of clearing native vegetation at Appin, south west of Sydney, without approval and on Friday fined $80,000 by the NSW Land and Environment Court. The company was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the Office of Environment and Heritage.
The fine relates to clearing carried out in 2006 when the company arranged for about seven hectares of its property in Appin, to be cleared. It involved more than 70 species of native vegetation including White Stringy Bark and Forest Red Gum.
The Office of Environment and Heritage first detected the clearing using satellite imagery in 2008, and a prosecution was commenced in August 2010 after legal challenges during the investigation.
In handing down the fine, Justice Preston accepted evidence that although the two areas cleared are relatively small compared to the overall area of native vegetation on the site, it was significant as it comprised endangered ecological communities that have been identified as over-cleared and unable to withstand further loss.
His Honour concluded that there had been moderate environmental harm that will endure but decrease in severity for one to two decades.
Acting Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage, Sally Barnes said that under the Native Vegetation Act, all land clearing requires approval through a Property Vegetation Plan or development consent, unless it is on land excluded from the Act, is approved clearing, or is a permitted activity such as a routine agricultural management activity.
"It's important that people follow the established processes and obtain approvals prior to clearing vegetation.
"If in doubt about what can and can’t be cleared people should check with their Catchment Management Authority or local Council."
Further information about native vegetation and Property Vegetation Plans are available on the OEH website:
Contact: Roger Bell
Page last updated: 24 April 2012