Landowners, community members and interested stakeholders have been invited to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Powerlink Queensland’s proposed transmission line between Springdale (near Gatton) and Blackwall (near Ipswich).
Powerlink Chief Operating Officer, Simon Bartlett, said the proposed Springdale to Blackwall 500-kV transmission line was essential infrastructure which had been identified for a number of years in the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program. He said the new line was needed to efficiently and reliably meet future electricity demand in South East Queensland.
“The Springdale to Blackwall transmission line is planned to be built almost exclusively on existing easements acquired for this purpose in the early to mid 1990s,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett advised that specialist environmental consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) had been engaged to undertake a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project to ensure that any potential environmental, social and economic impacts were identified and managed. “As part of this process, PB has been undertaking field research, investigations and consultation to produce a Draft EIS report, which is now available for comment,” Bartlett said.
“The report confirms that the existing easements are the most appropriate location for the new line. A minor deviation of the alignment (for one short 500-m section) is proposed in Muirlea, and this will also be predominantly on existing electricity easements. “The report also concludes that, provided Powerlink implements the recommendations outlined in the Draft EIS and associated Draft Environmental Management Plan (EMP), there do not appear to be any social, environmental or economic factors that would prevent the project from proceeding.
“We encourage anyone with an interest in the project to review and make a submission on the Draft EIS report. Once the public comment period has concluded PB will review, consider and address all submissions received. These submissions, and responses provided to submitters, will be included in the Final EIS which is expected to be released in late 2010,” he said.
Bartlett said the Draft EIS would be available for comment for just under a six-week period until Thursday 23 September 2010, which is nearly double the standard submission period under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
“This extended timeframe is being provided in light of PB’s release of the Draft EIS for ENERGEX’s Abermain to Lockrose 110-kV powerline upgrade project around the same period. About half of these ENERGEX easements run parallel to Powerlink’s Springdale to Blackwall easements in the area,” he said.
Copies of the Springdale to Blackwall Draft EIS are available online at PB or Powerlink’s websites (www.pb.com.au/springdaleblackwall or http://www.powerlink.com.au/ - go to ‘Projects in My Area/Southern’).