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July 13, 2015

Western Australia’s EPA recommends approval for $2bn Perth airport rail link

Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended the $A2.2bn ($2bn) project for conditional approval, which will start construction of the Forrestfield Airport Link that will extend Perth's rail network.

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended the $A2.2bn ($2bn) project for conditional approval, which will start construction of the Forrestfield Airport Link that will extend Perth’s rail network.

The public transport authority’s Perth airport link project involves the construction of three stations at Airport West, Consolidated Airport and Forrestfield.

The project also involves an 8km-long, twin-rail tunnel that will run to the airport from the existing line at Bayswater and end at Forrestfield.

"Potential environmental impacts on flora and vegetation at the Forrestfield station were identified as the key factor requiring evaluation by the EPA."

Work also includes re-alignment of Dundas Road, cross passages and emergency exits.

The assessment of EPA does not include the section of rail or underground station to be built on Commonwealth-owned airport land.

The project is also subject to a separate assessment and approvals process under Commonwealth legislation.

EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel said: "Potential environmental impacts on flora and vegetation at the Forrestfield station were identified as the key factor requiring evaluation by the EPA. Offsets were also specified to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to flora and vegetation.

"The proposal directly impacts on the ‘Banksia woodlands over species rich dense shrublands’ community, identified as a threatened ecological community because it is very restricted."

The conditions recommended include a flora and vegetation monitoring and management plan to ensure no adverse direct or indirect impacts to Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) outside of the Forrestfield Development Envelope, at Poison Gully Creek and Lot 12 Ibis Place – from the temporary dewatering and recharge activities; and an offset strategy to counterbalance the direct loss of 1.6ha of a TEC and 25 plants of a rare flora species.

According to EPA, the water and the environmental regulation departments will be responsible for managing the detailed management plans for construction dewatering, acid-sulfate soils and spoil.

Construction of the tunnel is scheduled to begin at the end of next year with passenger services expected to start on the rail link in 2020.

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