THE Environment Protection Authority has knocked back an application for a rubbish tip, or landfill, in the old Pioneer quarry on the Arthurs Seat escarpment at Dromana.
It was announced on Friday morning with the EPA saying the proposal did not comply with “threshold issues around groundwater, construction design and management”.
The decision is a blow to tip proponent Peninsula Waste Management and its owner R E Ross Trust as well as Mornington Peninsula Region Waste Management Group of which Mornington Peninsula Shire is the sole member. The waste group had earmarked the quarry as a potential tip site in the late 1990s.
PWM wanted the old quarry on Boundary Rd for up to 150,000 tonnes of municipal waste a year for up to 20 years.
Less than one-third of the waste would have come from the Mornington Peninsula with the balance from other municipalities.
The proposal generated massive opposition and the formation of a high-powered lobby group, Peninsula Preservation Group.
It was formed soon after the plan became public in late January (“Arthurs Seat tip plan”, Southern Peninsula News, 24/1/13) and members included successful business people, lawyers, scientists, doctors and teachers.
Almost 20,000 peninsula residents and others had signed paper and electronic petitions objecting to the tip. Thousands had attended protest meetings and a rally in Dromana, and an EPA conference in Mornington.
In the decision posted on the EPA’s website on Friday, it stated the tip did not comply with the state government’s Waste Management Policy 2004 on “the siting, design and management of the landfill”.
The plan was “inconsistent with the objectives, principles and approach of the Victorian government’s new waste and resource recovery policy and EPA statutory policy”.
“In addition, the location of the proposed site does not align with the modelling undertaken by MWMG [Melbourne Waste Management Group] and Sustainability Victoria on the optimum locations for strategic hubs,” the EPA said.
This is a reference to a recently announced state government plan, Getting Full Value, for “an integrated, statewide waste management and resource recovery system that provides an essential community service by protecting the environment and public health, maximising the productive value of resources, and minimising long-term costs to households, industry and government”.
The government wants to establish hubs where municipal waste can be sorted into recyclables and green waste converted into mulch to reduce the amount going to tips, or landfills.
The Pioneer quarry site does not have enough space for such a hub.
The government is cutting the state’s 12 regional waste groups to six and forcing the peninsula waste group to join the Melbourne metro group.
Peninsula Preservation Group president Jacinta Banks said the group was pleased with the EPA’s decision.
“The plan was flawed and this is why there was such a high level of opposition,” she said.
Ms Banks said the group hoped PWM and Ross Trust “would abide by the umpire’s decision and not challenge the EPA decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal as it has publically stated”.
Nepean MP Martin Dixon welcomed the EPA decision and said it was “a great result for the local community”.
He said the EPA had based its “decision on recent changes to” state government policy.
“Under new landfill guidelines we recently introduced, the EPA has ruled there is now no need for a further landfill in this area.”
Mr Dixon said the government’s decision to close Mornington Peninsula Region Waste Management Group and merge it with greater Melbourne’s waste management network meant “there are now more metropolitan waste disposal options open to the Mornington Peninsula”.
“I am very pleased these new government policies have led to this decision, which is consistent with the overwhelming wishes of both our local and broader community.”