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Forestry Corp fined after EPA investigation

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined Forestry Corporation of NSW following investigations into forestry operations in southern NSW.

EPA Director Regional Operations South Nigel Sargent said the EPA’s investigations found that Forestry Corporation had breached the Southern Integrated Forestry Operations Approval by not properly marking important trees needed to protect native animal habitat and the environment.

“To maintain biodiversity in the forest, the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval requires loggers to mark and retain a number of habitat trees and mark the boundaries of environmentally sensitive areas where logging activities are not permitted.”

Forestry Corporation has been fined $30,000 for two alleged offences in Tantawangalo State Forest on the far south coast in 2019 and separately, $1,100 for an alleged offence in Bago State Forest in the Southern Tablelands in 2018, under the previous, lower, penalty schedule.

Forestry Corporation was fined $15,000 for not marking an adequate number of trees for retention in Tantawangalo State Forest and $15,000 for not marking the boundary of an environmentally sensitive area as an exclusion zone, required to protect the habitat of the Powerful Owl.

The alleged offence in Bago State Forest relates to not marking an adequate number of habitat trees that needed to be retained.

“The EPA continues to closely monitor forestry operations in southern NSW, despite the current COVID-19 restrictions, to ensure compliance with the regulations,” Mr Sargent said.

“The EPA investigation followed information received from the community. The community can be confident that any alleged non-compliance during forestry operations will be investigated.”

Forestry Corporation has reported to the EPA that they have implemented processes to improve staff training of forest retention obligations.

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. In this instance the EPA issued a penalty notice. The notice recipient may pay the penalty notice, seek a review, or elect to have the matter determined by a court.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

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