Shire of Cranbrook set to implement local policy to curb whole-of-lot plantations amid community concerns

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenGreat Southern Herald
Harvest at Gnowangerup.
Camera IconHarvest at Gnowangerup. Credit: Aaron Dupe/Aaron Dupe

A Great Southern council is set to curb the number of plantations in its boundaries in an effort to protect prime agricultural land.

The Shire of Cranbrook voted at a meeting on July 20 to implement a new local planning policy to guide the council’s future decisions on approving plantations.

As part of the policy, the council now seek to keep tree plantations to a maximum of between 30 and 35 per cent for each lot, with decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis.

The new policy is based off a similar directive in place in the Shire of Jerramungup, which council-engaged consultant planner Liz Bushby said helped them defend a decision not to approve a carbon sequestration plantation on 75 per cent of a property at the State Administrative Tribunal.

“Jerramungup’s Local Planning Policy played a large role in their SAT defence,” she said in her report to councillors.

Half of respondents to the council’s draft policy wanted the plantation limits strengthened to include an absolute percentage limit.

The council was consulted against this partially to avoid conflict with the State Government’s rural planning policy.

WAPRES and the Forest Products Commission both objected to the plantation limit.

The policy will not be able to prevent whole-of-lot tree plantations where approval has previously been given.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails