Ashton Coal Operations Limited v Hunter Environment Lobby & Minister for Planning

November 2015

The Hunter Environment Lobby, represented by EDO NSW, successfully defended Ashton Coal’s appeal of a Court condition imposed on the company’s expansion of its coal mine near Camberwell in the Hunter Valley.

The Land and Environment Court found that, while approval could be granted for the expansion, the development could not start until Ashton purchased, leased or licenced Mrs Bowman’s property. This is because the project had been environmentally assessed on the basis that the open cut coal mine will totally consume Mrs Bowman’s property. The Court accepted that Ashton Coal needs Mrs Bowman’s property before it starts the project, both to access the coal, and to manage impacts to groundwater and surface water from the mine.

Ashton Coal appealed the decision in the NSW Court of Appeal. The Court dismissed the appeal in November 2015, meaning that Ashton Coal to needs to purchase, lease or licence Mrs Bowman’s property before it can start the project.

EDO NSW is grateful to barristers Robert White and Mark Seymour for representing the Hunter Environment Lobby in the Court of Appeal.

 

Wendy Bowman. Image: Dean Sewell

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Judgment