An independent expert report has confirmed the proposed route of September’s World Rally Championship Rally Australia to be held on the Coffs Coast does not include any gazetted conservation areas.

The report was compiled by Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd and focused specifically on three proposed sections of road near the Sherwood Nature Reserve, Twelve Sixty Flora Reserve in Bagawa State Forest and adjacent to Dorrigo National Park.

It examined whether the roads were gazetted as part of the reserves and concluded that the proposed course was being held entirely on State forest, shire or crown land.

“After an ecological study, which included reference to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water – including its biodiversity unit – and the engagement of a specialist environment assessment firm, it has been confirmed the proposed Rally Australia route does not use roads in any gazetted conservation areas,” Rally Australia General Manager Michael Masi said.

“It also says the proximity of the proposed course to the reserves does not in itself constitute a significant impact.

“However, where the roads run close to these areas the report says no spectator or parking areas should be allowed and we will follow this recommendation without question.

“We are happy this report demonstrates the Rally organisers have been diligent in their research on the proposed route.

“This is only the first step in an extensive Environmental Impact Study which will be undertaken by Rally Australia in the coming months and we look forward to working in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure that we minimise the impact on the natural attractions that the Coffs Coast has to offer.

 “It’s our intention to ensure this major event, showcasing not only the Coffs Coast but also New South Wales as a whole, is able to go ahead without any legitimate environmental or ecological concerns.”

Rally Australia, round 11 of 13 in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship will be staged on 8-11 September in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Clarence Valley and Nambucca local government areas.

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