NSW group South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) has successfully won a case to prevent the operation of a wood pellet plant in Eden by the woodchip exporter SEFE (South East Fibre Export). SEFE is 100% Japanese owned by Nippon Paper and Itochu and export over a million tonnes of woodchips a year. The new plan was to produce wood pellets to fuel wood-fired electricity plants. The wood was to come from our native forest – from Nowra NSW, to East Gippsland.
Bega Valley Shire Council gave a hasty OK for the building to start in June, and SEFR warned they would take legal action if it were to proceed. It did proceed and SEFR did take legal action.
On the 16th December 2011, a decision was handed down in a NSW court saying the approval to build the pellet factory was invalid. The shire didn’t take into account public submissions, the Ecologically Sustainable Development principle and the land zoning. This means that SEFE must not operate the factory or process wood for it. A significant win for our forests!