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NCA: ESC Lack of compliance and land clearing ahead of RLS determination


The Nature Coast Alliance has put together a brochure (below) on what they refer to as "recent DA stuff ups by the Eurobodalla Shire Council". Kathryn Maxwell of the group told the Beagle "It confirms our worst fears if the RLS is signed off by the NSW Government Planning Minister. " In their latest media release the group state that "The proposed RLS/updated Local Environment Plan -bad news for Eurobodalla's climate". Joint NCA Convenor, Kathryn Maxwell said “The Nature Coast Alliance has a number of local groups working together to protect our coast and our forests from the threat posed by Eurobodalla Council’s proposed Rural Lands Strategy (RLS)/updated Local Environment Plan (LEP). "The proposed strategy would allow new subdivisions and a massive increase in allowable land uses. This would result in widespread clearing of native forest and consequent loss of stored carbon to the atmosphere. In addition, 29 out of the 70 (greater than 40%) planning areas affected by the RLS are located in flood-prone areas and any expansion in their permitted uses would lead to many more facilities being exposed to increased flood risk "Yet despite these significant issues, the proposed RLS makes no mention of climate change impacts and how they will be dealt with. "Here in the Eurobodalla we have been sweltering through a long hot summer, and we are not alone. The Bureau of Meteorology January 2019 Report stated that it was the warmest January on record for Australia in terms of mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures. The national mean temperature was 2.91°C above average. Maximum temperatures were 3.37°C above average and minimum temperatures were 2.45°C above average. "These are highly significant results, given that monthly average deviations are usually measured in only tenths of a degree Celsius.A prolonged heatwave affected much of the country throughout the month, breaking records for duration and individual daily extremes. "Both the scale and longevity of this persistent heat is unprecedented - since early December 2018 extreme heat has lingered and has been impacting different parts of the country ever since. The hotter the atmosphere, the more water it can hold, so it was no surprise that when these sweltering January conditions continued into February that Queensland’s north coast experienced record flooding, with areas around Townsville being particularly hard hit. "Extreme temperature and rainfall events such as these will become more and more common as climate change intensifies into the twenty-first century and not just in the tropics, it can occur right here in the Eurobodalla" "Our native forests help to cool the environment. The most obvious way trees cool the air is by shading. Trees also cool the air by a process known as 'transpiration cooling'. As trees release water into the atmosphere from their leaves via transpiration, the surrounding air is cooled as water goes from liquid to a vapour. These forests also attract rain. That's because air passing over forests picks up moisture given off by trees and plants, fuelling rains. When those trees disappear, so does some of that rain. Good tree coverage also binds the soil and helps to slow water runoff during large rainfall events, and reduce peaks in flood flows.” Allan Rees, coordinator of 350 Eurobodalla said “These native forests on private land also store a lot of carbon. Of the 38,000 hectares of private land which could be impacted by the RLS, approximately 70% is forested (some 26,000 hectares). Using CSIRO carbon calculations for the south coast we estimate these forests take 273,750 tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere (carbon sequestration) annually. Mr Rees said "This more than offsets the 168,000 tonnes of carbon emitted by Eurobodalla homes each year. In addition, it is also estimated that these native forests on private land in the Eurobodalla store 2.66 million tonnes of carbon – cutting them down will release carbon from both the trees and the soil.Kathryn Maxwell concluded by saying “Our community, through a myriad of landcare projects, has been increasing the amount of native forests on private land and in so doing has increased our carbon sinks over the last three decades. We need a twenty first century RLS that protects native forests on private land for the future well being of all of us, not a plan that provides short-term financial gain to a small group of large landowners and developers. It is not acceptable that in 2019 we have a proposed RLS that tries to ignore climate change. This is the type of wilful ignorance that has led to the current crisis in the Murray-Darling Basin and Menindee fish kills. ”





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