What is EPA doing to regulate logging in forests?
The EPA actively regulates forestry activities. We have stepped up compliance efforts pre, during and post harvesting operations to ensure a precautionary approach is being taken to forestry activities by the Forestry Corporation of NSW, to minimise environmental impacts and to ensure compliance with the rules under the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals.
Over the past 12 months we have continued to increase engagement with stakeholders and community organisations. We have done more inspections on commercial activities and responded to many pieces of correspondence regarding forestry operations. We will continue to listen and engage with the community on forestry issues.
We have brought 10 charges against Forestry Corporation NSW, with five prosecutions. Some of these matters are still under investigation and some of these are due to be finalised in the coming months. The outcomes will be published in our media releases. We recommend following our Twitter page for all media release announcements.
In the past year we have undertaken 120 forestry inspections across 43 different crown forestry operations and 36 different private native forestry operations.
What is being done to protect koalas?
The EPA works in partnership with landholders, the Forestry Corporation of NSW, Local Land Services, Environment Energy and Science, community groups and the timber industry on innovative mapping programs and research to increase knowledge of the locations of threatened species such as koalas. We aim to protect them through education, including the rules in place to protect the koalas' feed trees. The EPA also conducts a comprehensive compliance audit program to ensure the native forestry industry is obeying the law.
How is the use of native forest biomass regulated?
The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2021 prohibits the burning of native forest biomaterial to generate electricity.
The NSW Government acknowledges that energy recovery can play a role in helping to manage legitimate residual forestry waste and the Regulation provides specific exceptions for these waste materials.
The Regulation is clear that native forest biomaterials can only be used for energy generation when it is true waste and has no potential for higher value use in NSW such as milling, engineered timbers, wildlife habitat, landscaping or erosion and sediment control. In addition, the waste hierarchy applies, where waste generation should be avoided, reused or recycled before it can be considered for energy generation.
The NSW Government will ensure laws and policies relating to the use of biomaterials for energy generation are continually improved. This will ensure they remain strong and effective in protecting the environment, and native timber is being used in NSW for its most beneficial use.