The Latrobe City Council has rejected a proposal by Chunxing Corporation to build the state’s first lead battery recycling plant in the municipality, saying lead from the plant posed too big a risk to the community.
Latrobe City Council has rejected an application for a planning permit for the construction of a Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) recycling facility, proposed for Hazelwood North.
Council voted to not issue a planning permit application for the ULAB recycling facility at a Special Council Meeting on September 17 where it was decided that the Used Lead Acid Battery recycling facility did not meet the requirements of the Latrobe City Planning Scheme. The Council said decision was made on planning grounds including taking into consideration amenity impacts.
123 submissions to the proposal were received by the Council and they listened to over 35 speakers who addressed the Special Council Meeting.
Council said that it had assessed the application against the Latrobe Planning Scheme and referred it to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The EPA issued a Works Approval which Inside Waste reported on September 2 with conditions for the ULAB recycling facility.
Chunxing has right to appeal
However, the Council said that decision didn’t influence Council’s determination, as it was required to consider the proposal under the Planning and Environment Act.
Chunxing now has the right to appeal Council’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Ascend Waste Management handled the Works Approval process and managing director Geoff Latimer told Inside Waste that the process had been exhaustive and he had made a strong submission to the Council meeting last week.
He is adamant that there is no threat to public health in the project citing an independent Human Health Risk Assessment, which studied all pathways of acute and chronic impact. It concluded that “there are no risks to the health of residents.” It stated not some risk or low risk but ‘no risk’,” Latimer said.
“This supported our submission to EPA. The worst case modelling result anywhere in the Hazelwood North area shows lead emissions at 300 times lower than EPA standards set to protect human health, and it falls within the boundary of the Chunxing facility. Additionally, the worst case modelling result at the nearest residence is more than 1,500 times lower than EPA standards, which is negligible, and 100-fold lower than ‘natural background’.