Hanson to boost productivity at NSW quarry

Statutory body, Independent Planning Commission (IPC), has approved a quarry expansion for building material company, Hanson, albeit with strict conditions.

Hanson sought approval to expand operations at its Brandy Hill Quarry, 10km northwest of Raymond Terrace, which produces construction material for major infrastructure projects across New South Wales.

Hanson's application included requests to: extend the extraction area by approximately 55 hectares from 19.5 hectares to 74.5 hectares, increase production from 700,000 tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes per annum, extend product transport and operating hours into the evening and night time periods, construct and operate a concrete batching and recycling facility and import solid concrete waste for reprocessing and beneficial reuse.

IPC determined to approve the quarry expansion on 16 July 2020, citing “while the project will result in social impacts, these impacts have been mitigated through the imposition of conditions and are reasonable when balanced against the benefits of the project”.

According to the IPC's Statements of Reasons for Decision, it agreed with the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment's assessment which does not support the proposed hours of operation for processing and transport due to adverse impacts on local amenity through the evening and night time periods, also noting the extensive rural residential development that has been established around the quarry since it was originally approved in 1983.

In addition to the Department's recommended restrictions, IPC found the increase in heavy vehicle traffic associated with quarry expansion poses a safety risk on Brandy Hill Drive. IPC imposed a condition that requires certain road infrastructure projects (six bus bays and a shared pathway) to be constructed on Brandy Hill Drive prior to any increase in production from the quarry.

Also, truck movements in the early morning (prior to 6am) would unreasonably impact the wellbeing of residents living along the haulage routes. IPC imposed a condition to further restrict trucks from entering the site prior to 6am and that the applicant (Hanson) be required to implement management measures to prevent trucks travelling on the haulage routes before this time.

IPC included an additional condition requiring lands in the ownership of Hanson but outside the Approved Disturbance Area (i.e. buffer lands) to be retained, which will screen the project from the surrounding residential area. IPC said this will help preserve the area's rural character and separate noise-generating activities from residential receptors and assist in maintaining vegetation and biodiversity values.

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