Developer fined for illegal land-clearing

THE NSW Land and Environment Court has fined a property developer $80,000 for clearing native vegetation without approval in Appin.

The Walker Corporation was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the Office of Environment and Heritage.

In 2006, the company arranged for about seven hectares of its property in Appin to be cleared.

The land included more than 70 species of native vegetation, including white stringy bark and forest red gum.

Justice Preston found that although the areas cleared were relatively small compared to the site's overall native vegetation, they included endangered ecological communities that were over-cleared and unable to withstand further loss.

He said the damage would remain for 10 to 20 years but would decrease in severity.

The Office of Environment and Heritage's acting chief executive, Sally Barnes, said all land-clearing required approval through a property-vegetation plan or development consent. The exceptions were land excluded from the Native Vegetation Act, approved clearing or a permitted activity such as a routine agriculture.

Details: environment.nsw.gov.au /vegetation.

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