Lara big incinerator is on the nose

Environmental lawyers are calling on the Victorian Government to act in the best interests of the local community and stop a proposed waste-to-energy facility from going ahead at Lara, near Geelong.

Prospect Hill International Pty Ltd proposes to incinerate 400,000 tonnes of waste per year at 164-200 McManus Road, Lara.

Lawyers for Environmental Justice Australia, acting on behalf of the Anti-Toxic Waste Alliance, say the granting of a licence for the facility should have been refused by EPA Victoria because it poses an unacceptable risk of harm to human health and the environment.

The facility would be located within 1km of residential areas in Lara and there are nine childcare centres, seven schools and three aged care residences within 5km of the facility.
EJA understands members of the local ‘Say No to Lara Big Incinerator’ campaign is planning next steps including whether they will seek review of the EPA decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Our client is concerned that this facility will contribute to dangerous air pollution and waste.
Recently French authorities issued a warning across 410 municipalities telling residents to not eat eggs from their backyard chickens due to unsafe levels of dioxins from one of Europe’s largest waste incinerators.

Pollution risks

The Lara facility will generate considerable carbon emissions due to the burning of plastics, contributing a larger and larger portion of Victoria’s carbon footprint over the lifetime of the facility.

It will produce air pollutants such as Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) and 2.5 (PM2.5), Ozone, Ammonia, Hydrogen Chloride, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.

It will also produce metals and semi-metals such as Hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury. For several of these chemicals, there is no safe exposure limit.

Public pressure has led to the license being issued with stronger conditions than those originally proposed by the operator. These include continuous monitoring of air emissions, greenhouse gas emission reduction plans, and requirements to reduce noise, dust and odours.

“We’re concerned this facility will expose residents to a cocktail of dangerous chemicals.

We hoped the EPA would listen to Lara residents who said loudly and clearly that they don’t want pollution in their backyard.

More questions should be asked before Victoria rushes to approve these incinerators.”

Anti-Toxic Waste Alliance President Colleen Hartland

“The community is understandably nervous that Lara will have yet another industrial facility impacting their air quality.

Communities should not be burdened with hazardous waste facilities.

Our client is disappointed that the EPA wasn’t more sceptical of the proponents claims because we believe this facility represents an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment."

Senior Specialist Lawyer Bruce Lindsay