EPA terminates private native forestry property plan in Collombatti

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has terminated a property owner’s authority to log a private native forest following the destruction of a forest at Collombatti near Kempsey.

The EPA investigated the land owner, the holder of a private native forestry property vegetation plan, and found that most of the native forest had been illegally cleared and replaced with a market garden. Sensitive areas, such as streams, were also cleared.

EPA Director of Forestry Michael Hood said EPA officers collected strong evidence against the property owner for land clearing offences.

“We confirmed the area of native forest on the private property had been deliberately cut down to make way for a lemongrass and chili market garden,” Mr Hood said.

“If a person’s authority to conduct a private native forestry operation is misused in this way, the first thing the EPA will do is cancel this legally binding agreement and then stronger regulatory actions should be expected to follow,” he added.

“The work done on this property had nothing to do with sustainable native forestry management.

“A private native forestry property vegetation plan requires that native forests, biodiversity and the environment are protected. As this native forest was not protected, further action is now being taken requiring the land owner to return the environment back to its natural state.

“The EPA is committed to proactively protecting native forest areas across NSW and we encourage ecologically sustainable harvesting practices. The EPA works with other government agencies when regulating the protection of native forests, waterways and the environment,” Mr Hood said.

The community can play an important role in helping the EPA. If you have a concern about illegal logging or knowledge of a particular incident, report it to the Environment Line on 131 555. Environment Line reports are confidential and can be made 24hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information about the EPA’s role in regulating private native forestry in NSW click here.
Terminations of private native forestry property vegetation plans, penalty notices and fines are just some of the regulatory tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. For more information about other regulatory tools download a copy of the EPA’s Compliance Policy.