The FFRR group has obtained a full copy of the damning EPA report on the RRL noise and vibration assessments. The report was originally obtained by the Sunday Age under freedom of information (see: goo.gl/ZKEDD).
As part of the environmental effects referral for the RRL project, the RRL Authority undertook a noise assessment and an air quality assessment for the Footscray corridor. The RRL reports attempted to downplay noise and air quality impacts, claiming, amongst other dishonesties, that "the RRL project will result in only slight increases on current levels of noise".
Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in to review the work of the RRL Authority. The EPA produced a report scathing of the the methodology and results of the original RRL noise and vibration assessment. The Baillieu government declared the suppression of the report a ''scandalous cover-up'' and vowed to investigate fully the project's environmental and health impacts.
Affected residents were heartened that the government and the EPA were willing to call the RRL Authority to account on these issues.
In his EES decision, the previous Minister for Planning requested a second noise impact assessment report to be prepared in consultation with the EPA and to be independently peer reviewed (hardly a vote of confidence in the competence of the RRL Authority). This report was supposed to be submitted to the Minister for Planning in the first quarter of 2011, "or date to be agreed".
The report has not appeared and there is no word at all from the RRL Authority, the Minister for Planning or the Minister for Transport as to when the report is due and whether it will be made public. A deafening silence greets our questions on this subject. Meanwhile, the Transport Minister announced the commencement of project works.
Residents are concerned that the RRL Authority is attempting to bypass the conditions imposed by the Planning Minister, by seeking to have major RRL works classified as 'preparatory works'. Residents have asked the RRL Authority for a list of 'preparatory works' items, but the RRL has not provided this information to date.
FFRR looks to the Government to fulfill its commitment to fully investigate the RRL project's environmental and health impacts, but the intense secrecy surrounding this process does not inspire our confidence.
See also, our list of questions put to the Transport Minister and the RRL Authority on 29th April, for which we have still not received the courtesy of a response.
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