The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued penalty notices to contractor Honey Ridge Timber Pty Ltd and landowner, Putty Holdings Pty Ltd, for logging in protected areas and polluting a stream on a private property near Putty.
Fines totalling $20,500 were handed down to the logging contractor.
The landowner was cautioned and fined $5,500 for not holding a legally required Forest Operation Plan.
EPA Director Forestry Michael Hood said that while most private forestry operations are done in accordance with the rules, the EPA will continue to come down strongly on those in flagrant breach of forestry regulations.
“After a thorough investigation by EPA officers we collected strong evidence against all parties for logging 39 trees along 400m of a rocky outcrop protected area,” Mr Hood said.
“Significant water pollution was also caused as appropriate road crossings were not in place over streams.
“One stream was completely dammed with soil so logging machinery could cross it,” he added.
“This is completely unacceptable. The contractors are experienced and know the laws in place to protect waters and prevent logging in rocky outcrops.
“Honey Ridge Timber Pty Ltd and Putty Holdings Pty Ltd financially benefited from these breaches, and a significant fine has now been issued.”
Rocky outcrops are an important and unique feature in the landscape, providing habitat and refuge to species during and after logging operations, especially in areas where logging operations have significantly reduced the diversity of the forest.
“Forest Operations Plans are not optional, they are required by law,” Mr Hood said.
“They tell loggers where to and where not to log. Without having or using a Forest Operations Plan, a logger is operating blind and risks breaching other laws as well as harming the environment.
“The NSW community can play an important role in helping the EPA to protect forests and vulnerable species. If you have a concern about illegal logging or knowledge of a particular incident, please report it to the Environment Line on 131 555.”
Environment Line reports are confidential and can be made 24hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information about the EPA’s role in regulating private native forestry in NSW visit: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/nativeforestry.htm
Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm