No environmental impact statement for Williamsdale solar farm highlights poor process

It’s very disappointing the proposed solar farm at Williamsdale won’t be subject to a rigorous environmental impact statement (EIS) given the concerns raised by residents in the area, Shadow Minister for Environment Nicole Lawder said today. 

“Residents around Williamsdale have a range of environmental concerns about the building of a solar farm, but the government has sidelined them, exempting the developers from the EIS process. It’s ironic that this is a development supposed to help the environment, yet its construction will bypass the environmental planning process,” Ms Lawder said.

“The sorts of issues which should be examined in an EIS process here include:

  • The removal of between 100 and 200 yellow box gums.
  • The impact on a glossy black cockatoo colony living in the area, which is likely to be affected by the felling of native trees.
  • The fact that yellow box trees provide a rich nectar source for the threatened regent honeyeater, an ACT endangered species.
  • Reports of asbestos dumps in the area.

“Residents and stakeholder groups like the ACT Conservation Council have valid concerns. The government seems to be obsessed with protecting the environment through the promotion of renewable energy technology. However, strangely there doesn’t seem to be the same concern for the natural environment around the proposed solar farm,” Ms Lawder concluded.