Queensland set to ban single-use plastics from September, but environment advocates want action now


Single-use plastic products, such as takeaway containers, have been important tools in the fight against the spread of coronavirus but they are set to be banned in Queensland.

The State Government has reintroduced legislation to parliament to ban plastic straws, plates, cutlery and stirrers from September.

It is seeking community feedback on whether the ban should be extended to include polystyrene containers.

Richard Leck, the Australian manager for marine conservation and sustainable development at the World Wide Fund for Nature, said the state should start eliminating plastic waste again now.

“We have seen a huge increase in single-use plastics and some of that is entirely appropriate for medical purposes and for personal protective equipment,” Mr Leck said.

Biodegradable plastic cups are a greener option for the hospitality industry to swap to before the September ban.(ABC Wide Bay: Johanna Marie)

Queensland’s health directions have been relaxed in recent weeks allowing reusable coffee cups to be accepted at cafes, but only where staff can do a “contactless pour” to reduce the spread of germs.

“There’s a frightening statistic that the [United Nations] put out that says the weight of plastic in our oceans will be more than the weight of fish in our oceans by 2050, unless we fundamentally change our use of single-use plastics.”

Banning plastic waste a ‘no-brainer’

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the Government had pushed back the start of the plastics ban from June to September to allow businesses to adapt.

“We know that COVID-19 has been a tough time for businesses, which is why we’ve said this ban won’t come into effect any sooner than the 1st of September,” Ms Scanlon said.

A man holding a compostable coffee cup outside a beach cafe
Joey Caruana has swapped to compostable coffee cups with recyclable lids at his Bundaberg cafe.(Supplied: The Beach Mill)

Joey Caruana, from The Windmill Bargara cafe, said he was forced to rethink his business at the peak of the pandemic.

Instead of plastic coffee cups and containers, Mr Caruana opted for more environmentally friendly recyclable and compostable options.

“There’s a significant difference in costs, you’re looking at 20 per cent on all packaging,” he said.

Despite the extra costs involved, Mr Caruana believes eliminating single-use plastics is a “no-brainer”.

“That’s really what we should be doing, it’s just a way forward … we’ve got alternatives already so there’s no need for them.”

Time for industry to prepare

Ms Scanlon said the hospitality industry would now have eight months to prepare for the ban.

a compostable coffee cup in the foreground and ocean in the background
A Bundaberg cafe has already switched to compostable coffee cups with recyclable lids.(ABC Wide Bay: Johanna Marie)

“Many businesses have already started to transition because they know the general public expects better when it comes to waste reduction, so we’re hoping this will be a smooth transition and something that all Queenslanders support.”

The government is also seeking community feedback on whether to extend the ban to polystyrene food containers and cups, commonly used by fish-and-chip shops and other fast-food outlets.

It expects the bill will pass parliament early this year.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this post regarding QLD and Australian news named “Queensland set to ban single-use plastics from September, but environment advocates want action now”. This article was posted by My Local Pages as part of our Australian news services.

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Mexico City single-use plastic ban begins


A broad ban on single-use containers, forks, straws and other ubiquitous items has taken effect in Mexico’s capital, one of the world’s largest cities, after more than a year of preparation.

On Friday, Mexico City’s environmental secretary said via Twitter that “from today on Mexico City without single-use plastics.” The message urged people to think of always carrying reusable containers like never leaving home without their cell phones.

Mexico City lawmakers passed the ban on plastic bags, utensils and other disposable plastic items in 2019.

The city of nine million people has spent the past year adjusting or in some cases ignoring the impending law change. The ban on plastic bags took effect last year.

Light, allegedly biodegradable bags have become more common at the city’s street food stalls. Plastic straws are offered less often. Fresh tortillas are handed over wrapped in paper or cloths that buyers bring with them.

But without the imposition of fines, the change will likely be slow in coming.

On Friday morning, a woman selling tamales under a large umbrella at the corner of a busy Mexico City avenue slid two into a plastic bag and offered two small colorful plastic spoons from a cup filled with them.

Asked if she was aware of the ban taking effect she said she was, “but with the coronavirus, they (authorities) forgot about it.”

Mexico City is currently under red alert as its hospitals’ COVID-19 beds hover near capacity.

The woman, who declined to give her name because she didn’t want to be singled out for enforcement, said it wasn’t just her. She said vendors and market stalls were still using plastic all over the city.

She asked how she was supposed to give customers steaming hot tamales without a plastic bag.

The ban also covers disposable plastic cups, plastic stirrers, single-use coffee capsules and balloons among other items.

In 2019, Mexico City produced about 13,000 tons of garbage per day, according to the capital’s environmental agency.



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Heavy rain, thunderstorms, flash flooding expected to hit Melbourne


Melbourne is bracing for up to a month’s worth of rain to fall in one day after heavy downpours brought flooding and damaged buildings across the city.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms remains in place for southern Victoria with the heaviest falls expected to hit Melbourne from late Tuesday morning until the evening.

The weather bureau has warned heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding in parts of western and central Victoria with up to 70mm possible in some areas.

State Emergency Service volunteers have already responded to 91 requests for help across the state in the past 24 hours, including 51 in the central region, which includes Melbourne.

Frankston and Greater Dandenong were the hardest hit areas with 15 call-outs.

An SES spokeswoman said 29 calls for help were for fallen trees, 21 for building damage and 20 for flooding.

Melbourne is bracing for more heavy rain on Tuesday.
Camera IconMelbourne is bracing for more heavy rain on Tuesday. Credit: News Corp Australia, Ian Currie

The highest rainfall totals between 9am on Monday and 4.45am on Tuesday were at Cape Nelson in southwest Victoria, which recorded 42.8mm, while Portland saw 39.6mm, Port Fairy 35.4mm and Rowville and Lang Lang each received 23.4mm.

In the city 13.2mm has fallen since 9am on Monday, while Frankston has recorded 30.2mm and Moorabbin Airport 25mm.

The weather bureau said the rain could ease across the city for periods during Tuesday morning but would increase again during the middle of the day.

Widespread falls of between 20mm to 40mm is expected across Melbourne on Tuesday, with up to 70mm possible in areas hit by isolated thunderstorms.

Locations likely to be affected by heavy falls include Warrnambool, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and Bacchus Marsh.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Claire Yeo said some areas could receive more than the December monthly average rainfall in one day if hit by thunderstorms.

“The rainfall across Victoria is actually being sourced from the northwest of the country where there’s an active monsoon across the Kimberly district of Western Australia,” she said.

“This moisture is actually providing a conveyor belt of moisture that in combination with an upper trough is generating the heavy rainfall that we’re seeing develop across the southwest and central parts of our state.”

The SES has urged people to avoid travel if possible and to stay away from dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.

It also recommended people to stay indoors when the rain hit and away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.

jack.paynter@news.com.au



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NAB says capital crucial to surviving ‘fragile’ environment


Vaccine developments and low case numbers had injected optimism into the economy, Mr Chronican said, adding it was unlikely the bank would need to raise further capital, but acknowledged it was hard to make forecasts.

“Our current capital ratio is well in excess of APRA’s minimal requirements but I’m also conscious in this year it’s quite a problematic issue to forecast into the future,” he said.

“In the last 24 hours, we have seen in Sydney how quickly the situation can change,” he said.

The bank’s remuneration report received about 98 per cent shareholder approval, after chief executive Ross McEwan took a 20 per cent pay cut and froze bonus payments to his leadership team.

This was the second consecutive year NAB’s executives did not receive bonuses although Mr Chronican said this was unlikely to continue, citing talent retention concerns.

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At the AGM, NAB was questioned on its climate policy including funding for Origin Energy’s shale gas project at Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. It also copped criticism for funding Whitehaven Coal which last week pled guilty to breaching environment laws 19 times.

NAB has committed to phasing out its lending to thermal coal by 2030 and Mr Chronican said the bank would review its oil and gas exposures next year as the lender moves towards a net zero emissions by 2050 target. Mr Chronican reiterated the bank’s commitment to prioritising low carbon energy projects – pointing to its $5.5 billion exposure to renewables, compared to $675 million in thermal coal and $2.7 billion in oil and gas.

“With the way we expect the world to head, companies that do not have a transition path towards 2050 will run the increasing risk of their business models no longer being viable,” he said. “For a bank, that becomes a risky exposure. That’s why we’re taking the comprehensive approach to managing climate risk.”

All directors seeking re-election were approved by more than 98 per cent of shareholders.



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Hailstorms, floods and ‘snowmageddon’ make Environment Canada’s top 10 weather stories of 2020


Environment Canada has released its top 10 weather stories of the year, and no part of Canada was spared.

From the record “snowmageddon” in St. John’s in January to an endless hot summer in eastern Ontario and Quebec to the smoke-filled skies over Vancouver, there was no shortage of stories that affected Canadians weather-wise in 2020.

It’s a far cry from the earliest days the list was put together, said Environment and Climate Change Canada’s senior climatologist, David Phillips. 

“I remember one story in the first year was retail sales were pretty good because people actually went to the stores or they sold shovels or garden equipment because of favourable weather, and now, my God, it’s all pretty well misery, hardship and misfortune,” Phillips, who has been compiling the list for 25 years, said. “Now, there’s … never a shortage of extreme exceptional weather.”

Topping the list? A hailstorm that pummelled Calgary, with insurance costs that are estimated to be roughly $1.3 billion.

On June 13, hot and humid air hung over Alberta, triggering severe storms that just strengthened into the evening. At about 7 p.m. local time, temperatures dropped by roughly 5 C, as hail as large as golf balls and tennis balls in some parts dropped on the city.

Wind speeds of up to 70 km/h roared, and the hail broke windows and downed trees. There was widespread flooding as hail drifts of 10 cm piled up, making a June day look more like December. But the damage wasn’t limited to the city: Hundreds of thousands of canola, barley and young canola crops suffered massive damage.

Dee Manning rests on a snow shovel in front of her parents’ house on June 14, the day after the hailstorm in Calgary. Winds reached speeds of up to 70 km/h, and the hail broke windows and downed trees. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

These sorts of weather stories aren’t new to Calgary, Phillips said.

“I can’t imagine doing the top 10 weather stories without mentioning Calgary,” he said. “There’s something about that city — the size of it, the economic aspect of it, the fact that it’s in an area where the weather changes can attack you from every direction … the fact that they’ve had the worst flooding in Canadian history and now they can add another weather superlative to their list.”

The second story of the year was a good news/bad news story: While fewer fires raged across British Columbia compared with 2019, it was the smoke from fires burning in California, Washington and Oregon that hung over the province.

A cyclist rides on the beach in Tofino, B.C., on the west coast of Vancouver Island, as smoke from fires raging in the U.S. hangs over the city. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Phillips said the smoke was so thick in the atmosphere that it even brought temperatures down roughly six to 10 degrees in some places. Special air-quality statements were issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada as the thick smoke hung near the ground.

“There were five consecutive days where every hour in those five days had smoky hours in Victoria and Vancouver,” Phillips said. “It has a direct effect on four million British Columbians.”

Here is the complete list:

  1. Calgary’s billion-dollar hailer 
  2. B.C.’s September skies: All smoke, no fires
  3. The flood of a century in Fort McMurray, Alta.  
  4. Endless hot summer in the east
  5. St. John’s ‘snowmageddon’
  6. Record hurricane season — and Canada wasn’t spared
  7. The year’s most powerful tornado
  8. Frigid spring helps Canadians self-isolate
  9. Fall in Canada: winter in the west and summer in the east
  10. August long-weekend storms: east and west

Stories are about people

The list of about more than just the weather, Phillips said. It’s about people and how they’re affected.

“Why did I select those [stories}? Because they had impacts on people,” he said. “They’re dealing with pandemic at the same time they’re being bombarded by smashing hailstones or things like that. Really, the economic, social upheaval and the environmental disruption from these things go into my consideration.”

His list highlights how a snowstorm in St. John’s — “a city that knows snow” — brought people to their knees. 

A woman makes her way through the snow-covered streets in St. John’s on Jan. 17. States of emergency were declared in St. John’s and neighbouring communities, and some 20,000 people were left without power. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

 

States of emergency were declared in St. John’s and neighbouring communities, some people had to dig their way out of their homes and some 20,000 people were left without power.

Another story that illustrates how severe weather can affect people was the year’s most powerful tornado that occurred in southwestern Manitoba on Aug. 7. Two teenagers were killed when their pickup truck was lifted and tossed a kilometre away.

Phillips said that as the climate continues to change, there will certainly be more of these events that affect our daily lives.

“When you’re seeing that you’re getting not any new weather, it’s just that it’s more frequent, it’s more intense, it’s longer lasting and has a different return period,” he said. “It’s slowing down. Those are the things that really are what climate change is all about.”

You can read a comprehensive list that includes regional stories here.



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Water shortages, pollution mean Latrobe Valley mine lakes plan not viable, environment groups say


Environmental groups say newly released documents which raise concerns about water availability and groundwater pollution cast fresh doubt over a plan to turn Victoria’s three brown coal mines into lakes when they close.

A Victorian Government ecological effects statement has revealed using water from the Latrobe River system to fill the mines would exacerbate a decline in environmental values and loss of biodiversity in a future drying climate.

The Latrobe River runs through the Latrobe Valley and central Gippsland and is used for drinking water, irrigating farmland and flows into the Ramsar-listed Gippsland Lakes wetlands.

Ramsar wetlands are rare or unique and of international importance.

The ecological effects statement found decreasing water availability from filling the mines would have a range of impacts on the river, its estuary and the Gippsland Lakes.

These include the loss of vegetation and a decrease in the numbers and breeding of native fish, waterbirds, frogs and turtles.

The Hazelwood open cut coal mine in the Latrobe Valley which closed at the end of March 2017.(ABC Gippsland: Jarrod Whittaker)

The study builds on the Government’s mine rehabilitation strategy released earlier this year, which found if drying continued the river’s inflows would be half their historic average when the last mine, at the Loy Yang power station, was due to close in 2048.

Look at other options

Environment Victoria campaigns manager Nick Aberle said the Government’s reports showed there was not enough of the Latrobe River system to fill “three mines or potentially even any mines” with river water.

A man stands in front of a waterway.
Environment Victoria’s Nick Aberle says alternatives to filling the mines with water need to be investigated.(Supplied: Nick Aberle)

“If you were to take that water out of the Latrobe river system, it is going to have a major environmental impact on the river system all the way down to the to the Gippsland Lakes,” Dr Aberle said.

Filling the mines with river water would take decades, with the Hazelwood mine, which closed in 2017, requiring 638 gigalitres.

The Yallourn mine, due to close in 2032, would need 725 and Loy Yang, which is scheduled to shut down in 2048, has a capacity of 1,420GL.

Average in-flows into the Latrobe have fallen from 800GL a year to 600GL a year since 1997 .

Government modelling in the rehabilitation strategy found under a dry climate scenario, the river’s average in-flows could drop to 334 gigalitres a year by 2080.

He said it was time for the mines’ owners to begin considering rehabilitation options which did not involve water or to investigate alternate sources of water.

“What those alternative water sources probably include are things like the desalination plant, recycled water from treatment plants and using that water to put that in the mine if a non-water solution isn’t going to work,” Dr Aberle said.

Owners told to clean up

Documents released to environmental groups under Freedom of Information and obtained by the ABC show in October, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued the Hazelwood’s owner, Engie, with clean-up notices.

The notices were issued after groundwater contamination was found inside the mine at the Hazelwood Ash Retention Area (HARA) and at its eastern overburden dump.

Groundwater bores at both sites at the mine found leaching from Hazelwood’s ash waste, with the notices saying the water tested exceeded the guidelines for “Water Dependent Ecosystems, Water Based Recreation, Potable Water Supply, Agriculture and Irrigation (stock watering) and Agriculture and Irrigation (irrigation)”.

The EPA found increased levels of cobalt, iron, manganese, nickel, sodium and magnesium detected may have occurred because of leaching from the HARA.

The notices reveal the EPA became aware in 2005 that the HARA was not adequately constructed and had the potential “to result in contamination of underlying groundwater”.

In a statement, the EPA said it was addressing pollution issues with the Hazelwood mine and ash landfills and the “EPA has issued regulatory notices which will guide clean up and ongoing management of the site”.

Mine audit underway

The EPA clean-up notice says the risk to a future lake at Hazelwood is beyond the scope of its audit, but it requires Engie to assess the extent of any contamination within and beyond the mine site and to analyse any potential risks to future uses of the area.

An Engie spokesperson said the audit was underway and would be completed next year.

“It is common for a site-wide clean-up notice to be issued by EPA Victoria upon the closure of a large industrial site such as Hazelwood,” the spokesperson said.

He said the company remained committed to filling the mine and making sure there was no risk to the environment or the community.

Environmental groups concerned

But environmental groups say the contents of the EPA’s clean-up notice are “disturbing” and raise questions about the Hazelwood lake plan.

A group of environmentalists stand next to a river holding glasses of water
The Friends of Latrobe Water coalition of environmental groups is opposed to filling the mines with river water.(Supplied: Friends of Latrobe Water)

“[The HARA] sits actually in the middle of the area that they want to flood. So it’s 35 hectares,” said Tracey Anton, a member of Gippsland group Friends of Latrobe Water.

Dr Aberle said while he believed a mine lake was not viable, Engie needed to clean up the area to avoid creating a “toxic lake”.

“The water quality in any lake would be quite problematic just because of that coal ash,” he said.

“So really, the first step before Hazelwood starts putting any water anywhere would need to be to clean up that coal ash dump at the bottom of the pit.”



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Australian War Memorial redevelopment approved by Environment Minister despite heritage opposition


Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has given the go-ahead to the controversial $500 million redevelopment and expansion of the Australian War Memorial, despite opposition from the Government’s own heritage council.

The redevelopment, in particular the demolition of Anzac Hall, has attracted the criticism of architects and heritage advocates, who have slammed it as wasteful and arrogant.

Former directors of the memorial have also raised concerns over the proposal, saying they fear the institution is straying from its original intent as a place of solemn reflection.

The War Memorial describes the changes, which will create room for a greater focus on modern veterans, as including “a new southern entrance, refurbishment of the main building, a new Anzac Hall connected to the main building via a glazed link, an extension to the Bean Building, a new research centre connected to the Poppy’s Cafe forecourt, and public realm works.”

Elements including the main commemorative area, the Hall of Memory, the Roll of Honour and the Pool of Reflection will be maintained.

Ms Ley said she had made the decision to greenlight the plans with 29 conditions, which she said would minimise and mitigate impacts on heritage.

“The decision, based on Departmental advice, follows a rigorous assessment of the proposal against the heritage values of the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House Vista, in keeping with both National and Commonwealth Heritage Management Principles,” she said.

“The Memorial will be required to prepare a Heritage Impact Assessment of the final design for my approval to ensure the site’s heritage values continue to be protected.”

Sussan Ley says the decision was based on departmental advice.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

In a submission published in October, the chair of the Government’s Australian Heritage Council, David Kemp, said the body could not support the redevelopment in its proposed form.

He singled out the proposed demolition of Anzac Hall as having a negative impact on the building’s heritage values.

“Physical expansion to support the display of large objects such as submarines and aircraft is not a sustainable intent over the long term and, in the current circumstances, cannot be achieved without significantly impacting listed heritage values,” he said.

“Regrettably, the council cannot support the conclusion that the proposed redevelopment will not have a serious impact on the listed heritage values of the site and recommends that the matters … be given serious attention.”

Ms Ley said the approval had been based on departmental advice.

Anzac Hall demolition ‘a real travesty’

ACT chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects Shannon Battisson said the planned demolition of the award-winning Anzac Hall was “disappointing to the core”.

A bridge connects the new Anzac Hall with the main building
The proposed glazed courtyard would feature a bridge between the new Anzac Hall and the main building.(Supplied: Australian War Memorial)

“The architecture itself, not only is it award-winning but it was designed to stand and stand with expansion for 30, 40, 50 years to come,” she said.

“The fact that we would throw out such a young building and condemn it to the scrap heap is a real travesty.”

Earlier this year, AWM director Matt Anderson defended the project, saying the memorial was overdue for an upgrade.

“We’ve created 100,000 veterans over the last 25 years, and yet we devote about 4 per cent of gallery space to them,” Mr Anderson told the ABC.

“This is a memorial for all Australians, it’s a place that is overdue refurbishment … the $498 million price tag is over seven years and my sense is that the Government is determined to honour that commitment.”



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Environment Agency launches urgent probe after farmer bulldozed Herefordshire riverside beauty spot


A farmer who used a 16-ton bulldozer to destroy a riverside beauty spot has said he acted to protect local homes from flooding.

John Price – a local potato and cattle farmer – dredged a section of the River Lugg near Leominster in Herefordshire and reportedly stripped a mile-long stretch of the bank of trees and bushes.

The farmer, 66, was widely criticised and the Environment Agency has launched an urgent investigation into the matter.

John Price – a local potato and cattle farmer – dredged a section of the River Lugg (pictured) near Leominster in Herefordshire and stripped a mile-long stretch of the bank of trees and bushes

Pictured is a general view of a stretch of the River Lugg in the area in 2018. This is how it would have looked before

Pictured is a general view of a stretch of the River Lugg in the area in 2018. This is how it would have looked before 

River dredging and managing floods

Dredging a river does reduce a flood risk, at one location, by allowing water to move downstream more quickly.

This would explain John Price’s actions with regard to removing trees that had already come down.

As he said: ‘I have not pushed any trees out and I haven’t knocked any trees down. I have only cleared what ones came down in the flood.’

However, the act of dredging can increase the risk of flooding elsewhere by disturbing the natural balance of the river.

It can also wreak havoc with river habitats, including salmon spawning areas.

Mr Price also said he was asked to carry out the work for free as he was fixing the erosion of the river bed and was helping solve issues caused by last year’s floods.

One way to protect river banks, however, is by using living (or dead) trees, roots and branches to cushion banks from the force of a river.

However last night Mr Price, who lives next to the river, said he had acted to protect locals in the nearby hamlet whose homes were devastated in last year’s floods. 

Local residents said they had asked the Environment Agency to clear the blocked river to prevent more flooding, but their appeals failed. 

Claiming he acted with permission, Mr Price said: ‘I’m a Herefordshire farmer and have lived at Hay Farm and was born here at home. I have never moved and have watched this river all my life and no one knows this river better than myself. 

‘I have always looked after the river. I was asked to stop the erosion because I’m the land owner so I’m responsible for the river.

‘It was up to the Environmental Agency to look after these rivers but they don’t do any work and haven’t got any money to do the work because they spend it all on clipboards.

‘I have not pushed any trees out and I haven’t knocked any trees down I have only cleared what ones came down in the flood.’ 

He added that the flooding had been getting worse over the last 10 years and that he had the support of the village and parish council in doing the work.    

The Environment Agency said it was taking the matter ‘very seriously’ and had launched an urgent investigation. 

Environmentalists – including BBC Gardener’s World host Monty Don – were yesterday in shock at the ‘complete obliteration’ of a site of Special Scientific Interest, home to otter, Atlantic salmon, brook lamprey, and water crowfoot. 

Don, whose Longmeadow cottage garden – the filming base for Gardener’s World -lies a few miles from the stretch of the river in Herefordshire, tweeted: ‘It breaks my heart but (it) is all too-typical of the ignorance, arrogance and sheer wanton destruction of those privileged to care for our countryside.’ 

The farmer, 66, was widely criticised and the Environment Agency launched an urgent investigation into the matter

The farmer, 66, was widely criticised and the Environment Agency launched an urgent investigation into the matter

Local residents said they had asked the Environment Agency to clear the blocked river (pictured) to prevent more flooding, but their appeals failed

Local residents said they had asked the Environment Agency to clear the blocked river (pictured) to prevent more flooding, but their appeals failed

One resident whose home was flooded last year told the publication that Mr Price took on the work because the EA refused to listen to their appeals.       

She said: ‘John has acted in the best interests of the local community.’ 

Another villager said: ‘During last year’s storms, all the cottages near the river flooded and some are still not ready for people to go back into.

‘The Environment Agency were asked again and again to sort the river out but it didn’t happen.

‘I think John just got sick and tired of waiting for another flood and just did what he had to do.’ 

Mr Price, who lives next to the river, said he had acted to protect locals in the nearby hamlet whose homes were devastated in last year's floods

Mr Price, who lives next to the river, said he had acted to protect locals in the nearby hamlet whose homes were devastated in last year’s floods

Yesterday, 14 officials from agencies including the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, West Mercia Police and Herefordshire Council descended on the scene (pictured)

Yesterday, 14 officials from agencies including the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, West Mercia Police and Herefordshire Council descended on the scene (pictured)

Helen Stace, of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (pictured), said: 'This is nothing short of a tragedy'

Dave Throup, the Environment Agency area manager, (pictured) said: 'We are aware of reports of damage to the River Lugg, which due to its environmental importance is protected through Site of Special Scientific Interest status

Helen Stace, of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (pictured left), said: ‘This is nothing short of a tragedy’. Dave Throup, the Environment Agency area manager, (pictured right) said: ‘We are aware of reports of damage to the River Lugg, which due to its environmental importance is protected through Site of Special Scientific Interest status

Yesterday, 14 officials from agencies including the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, West Mercia Police and Herefordshire Council descended on the scene.

Dave Throup, the Environment Agency area manager, said: ‘We are aware of reports of damage to the River Lugg, which due to its environmental importance is protected through Site of Special Scientific Interest status.

‘We are treating this very seriously along with Natural England and the Forestry Commission who have taken immediate action in an attempt to prevent any further works at the site.’

Helen Stace, of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘This is nothing short of a tragedy that will have dire consequences for the wildlife and water quality downstream. This is not about protecting the local area fromfloods, in my opinion the work that has been done will actually have the opposite effect.’ 



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Saturday weather: 40C temperatures forecast across QLD


Slap on some sunscreen because hot conditions are forecast across Queensland on Saturday, certain parts of the state set to reach as high as 47C.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast maximum temperatures over 40C in 33 towns.

They include 47C in Birdsville and 43C at Mt Isa across the west, 47C at Longreach in the central west, and 42C at Goondiwindi on the NSW-Queensland border.

Temperatures are expected to reach 30C in Coolangatta, 31C in Surfers Paradise and 33C in Brisbane, where the day is expected to be sunny.

Beachgoers had flocked to Sydney’s Manly beach on Friday.
Camera IconBeachgoers had flocked to Sydney’s Manly beach on Friday. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone

But the same can’t be said for Sydney, where showers and a possible late storm are forecast with a maximum of 27C.

Showers are also developing in Canberra with a top of 29C forecast.

As a cold front moves east across South Australia, Adelaide can expect a maximum of 28C with cloudy and windy conditions during the morning and early afternoon.

A windy 28C day is also expected in Melbourne, where showers and the chance of a thunderstorm could occur during the afternoon and evening.

Rain is also developing in Hobart where a cloudy 23C day is forecast.

However, a warm front is developing just south off the coast.

A low pressure system has swept across the middle of Australia, while Darwin experiences showers with a likely storm clearing and a maximum of 31C.

A 24C day is forecast in Perth with cloud clearing to a sunny afternoon.



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Queensland fire authorities urge Fraser Island residents to prepare to leave as blaze edges closer


Queensland fire services have told Fraser Island residents to prepare to leave as a bushfire at the tourist hot spot continues to burn out of control.

A bushfire is burning near Dundonga Creek, east of the resort and village, through to Cornwells Road in the island’s south.

Firefighters are continuing to battle the blaze, assisted by water bombing aircraft which have dropped almost one million litres in the past 24 hours.

At 11.20am on Saturday, fire crews were fighting fires in several locations on the island.

Firefighters are continuing to battle the blaze, assisted by water bombing aircraft which have dropped almost one million litres in the past 24 hours.
Camera IconFirefighters are continuing to battle the blaze, assisted by water bombing aircraft which have dropped almost one million litres in the past 24 hours. Credit: Supplied, QFES

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said weather conditions were predicted to deteriorate from Sunday through to Wednesday.

“Smoke will affect visibility and air quality on K’gari (Fraser Island) and adjacent mainland areas over the coming days,” a QFES spokesman said.

People in the area are being directed by QFES and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services to prepare to leave.

“Multiple fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property,” QFES said.

The Fraser Island fire as seen from River Heads. Photo: Stuart Fast
Camera IconThe Fraser Island fire as seen from River Heads. Photo: Stuart Fast Credit: News Regional Media

Locals are being urged to listen to local radio or check the Rural Fire Service website for further updates.

The fire began more than six weeks ago after an illegal campfire was lit.

The eastern side of the fire is about 3.5km northwest of Happy Valley.

The eastern side of the fire is located about 3.5km northwest of Happy Valley.
Camera IconThe eastern side of the fire is located about 3.5km northwest of Happy Valley. Credit: Supplied, Facebook/Glen Winney

A “stay informed notice” is in place for people in the Eli Creek, Yidney Rocks, The Oakes and Poyungan Valley area.

Travel to the island is restricted to local residents only.

“Where ground crews cannot access the inaccessible terrain, water bombing aircraft are working to reduce the intensity of the fire,” QFES said.



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