A BUANGOR resident is keenly awaiting the completion of an environmental report into tree discrepancy for the next stage of Western Highway duplication.
MairiAnne Mackenzie and her legal counsel Michael Kennedy expect to receive a Practical Ecology report next week which compares environmental damage between the approved route and another option.
Following an on-site count, VicRoads believe 270 old and scattered trees will be removed between Buangor and Ararat.
However, numerous environmental reports have cast doubts on VicRoads’ Environmental Effects Statement.
A vegetation assessment of the area by Blue Devil Consulting found that an estimated 15 hectares of extra vegetation would be lost in the planned footprint. The report established that “this section of VicRoads option one has as great an impact on vegetation of either of the northern options along the existing highway corridor, if not greater”.
Ecology Australia’s peer review said that the EES (produced by Ecology and Heritage Partners), missed a considerable number of large old trees and gave “inadequate consideration” of habitat loss for rare animals.
“Overall, we are of the opinion that due to these shortcomings, EHP (2012) provided no basis for reliance by decision makers during the EES," its assessment said.
VicRoads’ own Biosis report, conducted at Ms Mackenzie’s request, also found issue with the EES, stating that data collected by Ecology and Heritage partners for the EES was "incomplete" and "contains errors and incorrect assumptions".
“VicRoads is satisfied with the EES and planning approval process, based on comprehensive advice we have received, including from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, that the correct alignment has been chosen,” a statement from VicRoads said.