Stench denies housing permit

Residents say the smell at the Hampton Park landfill is unbearable.

By Brendan Rees

 A 41-lot residential subdivision next to the Hampton Park tip will not go ahead due to “offensive odours” and landfill gas risks, the state’s highest planning tribunal has ruled.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) upheld Casey Council’s decision not to grant a permit for Beaconsfield based DSL Securities Pty Ltd on 26 September.

The council argued the proposal at 250 Hallam Road would result in residential development being within 500 metres of landfill cells at the Hallam Road landfill – with odours and landfill gas migration posing a risk.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and Sustainability Victoria backed the Council’s decision.

VCAT dismissed DSL Securities attempt to argue future residents in its proposed subdivision would not be exposed to any “greater risk of odour impacts” from the landfill as housing existed within 500 metres of the landfill and 100 metres of the concrete batching plant.

Joint-tribunal members Ian Potts and Peter Gaschk stated in their report while the landfill remained in operation, the odour impacts would be unacceptable and risks of landfill gas migration “cannot be properly assessed and managed.”

“In our view, the evidence supports the case that there will be a very high likelihood that the current and future landfill operations will emit offensive odours beyond its boundary and beyond the nominal 500 metre buffer distance,” they said.

Mr Potts and Mr Gaschk stated the existing residential areas around the landfill were impacted by odours “that are strong and often enough to generate a constant stream of complaints has been established in this application a matter of fact.

They also stated there was “no or very limited expectation” there would be a reduction in odour emissions until the final waste cell is capped” – which was estimated by EPA to be in about six to eight years.

The issue of existing residential developed areas near the landfill “do not justify further exacerbating this contextual and timing situation,” Mr Potts and Mr Gaschk said in their report.

However, they stated if they were to be satisfied the “current and ongoing operation of the landfill could be managed in a manner that mitigated the odour risks, then DSL may have made out its case.”

VCAT accepted noise impacts could be addressed through a 2.4 metre acoustic wall but not ideal “given the impact on visual amenity.”

The tip has made headlines in recent months with neighbours at the Suez-owned tip saying they were fed up with the stench – with EPA reportedly receiving hundreds of complaints.

A Narre Warren South man and his family moved away from the tip to escape the revolting odour earlier this year only to discover the smell was so bad his family were dry retching in the bathroom of their new home. 

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