Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the Planning Assessment Commission’s rejection of the Rocky Hill coal mine proposed for the outskirts of Gloucester north of the Hunter Valley and called on the NSW Government to reform land use and planning law to provide a buffer around all towns and villages.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “Lock the Gate congratulates the people of Gloucester and Midcoast Council for working hard to stop this mine, secure the future of their town and set a new benchmark for sensible planning decisions when it comes to managing mining conflict.
The Commission found that the coal mine was not in keeping with the objective of Midcoast Council’s zoning for the area, which was to protect the rural scenic amenity of Gloucester and that letting the mine disturb nearly 500 hectares of agricultural land was not sympathetic to the character of the Gloucester Valley.
“It’s just common sense that the doorstep of a regional town like Gloucester is not an appropriate place for an open cut coal mine. The mine would have made residential areas of Gloucester unliveable with noise and dust pollution.
“The immediate next step to give certainty to the people of Gloucester is to cancel Gloucester Resources’ coal exploration licence in the area and that’s what the Minister for Resources should immediately do.
“Communities should not have to fight this hard to maintain the tranquility and liveability of rural towns and villages.
“New South Wales needs clear rules that stop projects like this from being proposed in the first place. It would save everyone money, time and heartache if the Government made a sensible rule to keep coal mines away from towns and villages and made productive agricultural land off limits to mining altogether.”
The Planning Assessment Commission’s decision is available here: http://pac.nsw.gov.au/projects/2017/10/rocky-hill-coal-project