Crackdown on illegal logging in full swing
Australia - A crackdown by Coffs Harbour City Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority has been launched against the illegal removal of native vegetation on the Coffs Coast.
Every week council receives reports of vegetation clearing. Every report is investigated and several offenders have recently been issued with substantial fines, said Nigel Cotsell, Coffs Council's Biodiversity Officer.
In cases of significant vegetation clearing, council can pursue offenders through the local court system - where fines of up to $100,000 can be imposed - or the Land and Environment Court, which has even tougher financial penalties.
One of the biggest problem areas is illegal clearing of native vegetation within 7a Environment Protection Habitat and Catchment zones.
Landowners should be aware that council has recently purchased state-of-the-art high resolution aerial photography coverage of the local government area. This enables staff to easily track changes in the landscape and obtain evidence of vegetation removal on private and public land, warned Mr Cotsell.
In addition, NPWS rangers keep a close eye on habitat and trees within the Coffs Coast Regional Park and National Park estate generally. Residents living within close proximity to protected areas are reminded that all native vegetation within Park estate is protected and the cutting down and poisoning of trees and shrubs to improve coastal views is illegal, he said.
Phone Council on 6648 4000 for advice on private land, the NPWS on 6652 0900, regarding threatened species and Regional Park issues, and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority on 6653 0122 for advice on vegetation management in rural areas.