Environment and planning

Environmental management

Sydney Metro Northwest has a Construction Environmental Management Framework (PDF 1.2MB) in place that sets out the minimum environmental management standards to be implemented on the project. The framework, in conjunction with the Construction Environment Management Plans, helps ensure Sydney Metro and its contractors comply with statutory and planning requirements through Environmental Impact Statements and Construction Environmental Management Plans.

Environmental management documentation

The Construction Environmental Management Framework and the planning approvals require the Sydney Metro Northwest project to produce a number of documents to enforce the management and monitoring of environmental impacts. These impacts may relate to:

  • noise and vibration
  • traffic and transport
  • local businesses
  • heritage
  • landscape and visual amenity
  • groundwater and geology
  • soil and water quality
  • contamination
  • biodiversity
  • flooding and hydrology
  • air quality
  • waste management.

Environmental management documentation is typically produced in the form of management plans, impact statements, monitoring reports and specialist consultant reports. Sydney Metro Northwest environmental management documentation is accessible from the Sydney Metro document library and the project’s contractor websites:

Environmental protection licences

The construction and operation of the Northwest project is licensed under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW). The Sydney Metro Delivery Office has developed an Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) strategy for the Northwest project. To allow for greater environmental protection on contractor work sites, each Sydney Metro Northwest contractor is required to hold an EPL.

The EPLs for each of the Sydney Metro contractors are accessible from the NSW Environment Protection Agency website:

Planning approval

Sydney Metro Northwest is subject to an environmental assessment under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). The project is classified as Critical State Significant Infrastructure. The Concept Plan for the project was approved on 6 May 2008 and is taken to be a Staged Infrastructure Approval under Part 5.1 of the EPA Act.

A modification to the staged Critical State Significant Infrastructure application was approved on 25 September 2012 to relocate Kellyville Station, provide additional stations at Bella Vista and Cudgegong Road and minor changes to Castle Hill Station and the alignment.

Before work commenced on the project, a detailed environmental assessment was carried out and approved by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure at each stage. These project planning approvals under Part 5.1 of the EPA Act are split into:

  • Major civil construction works planning approval
  • Stations, rail infrastructure and systems planning approval
  • Sydney Metro Trains Facility planning approval

Major civil construction works – planning approval

The first Environmental Impact Statement (EIS1) assessed impacts for major civil construction works. This covered major activities including tunnelling and viaduct construction. The EIS1 application was approved by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure on 25 September 2012.

A modification to EIS1 was approved on 18 April 2013 to incorporate changes to the Showground Station and adjacent precinct.

Stations, rail infrastructure and systems – planning approval

The second Environmental Impact Statement (EIS2) assessed impacts for stations, rail infrastructure and systems works. This covered the construction and operation of the railway itself, including stations and station precincts, rail systems and infrastructure. The EIS2 application was approved by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure on 8 May 2013.

A modification to EIS2 was approved on 20 May 2015 to alter the viaduct structure with a cable-stayed bridge over Windsor Road, Rouse Hill. 

Sydney Metro Trains Facility – planning approval

The Sydney Metro Trains Facility Environmental Impact Statement (SMTF EIS) assessed impacts for the construction and operation of a train stabling and maintenance facility (formerly referred to as the Rapid Transit Rail Facility at the time of the EIS submission). This included a section of track for testing along with training and administration facilities (including an Operations Control Centre). The SMTF EIS application was approved by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure on 15 January 2014.

EPA Act Part 5 – planning approvals

After receiving all applicable state and federal planning approvals, the Sydney Metro Northwest project has obtained further state planning approvals under Part 5 of the EPA Act. These approvals are self-determined by Transport for NSW in accordance with the provisions of the EPA Act Part 5.

Sydney Metro Part 5 approvals are often in the form of Review of Environmental Factors (REF) documents and currently include the:

Federal planning approval

Transport for NSW is also subject to Australian commonwealth planning approval. The project has an impact on nationally significant vegetation communities and is therefore declared a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Australian Government Environment Minister granted federal planning approval for the Sydney Metro Northwest project on 11 April 2013.

Epping to Chatswood railway

Project overview

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