Native bush under threat

PENRITH councillors have been urged to reconsider the council's proposed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) amid fears endangered species in the Cumberland Plain woodlands will be destroyed.

The planning document sets out proposed rezonings in the Derrubin Lands in Cranebrook and Castlereagh, where 600 hectares of bushland will become rural subdivision.

The majority of councillors recently voted in favour of rezoning the land from priority conservation lands to RU4 primary production small lots under the stage 2 of the LEP.

Councillor Kevin Crameri will submit a rescission motion to reverse the decision at next Monday's meeting.

Greens councillor Michelle Tormey is backing the rescission motion.

The Greens say the LEP fails to plan for the interlinking of remnants of woodlands and will lead to a massive loss of species.

Cr Tormey presented a petition to the council later with 638 signatures opposing the current LEP plan.

"This is the last chance to protect the wildlife corridor," NSW Greens upper house member David Shoebridge said. "This will require local, state and federal governments working together with the land council and the community so it's a win-win for everyone. At the moment, everyone is losing."

He described the four-week community consultation period over Christmas and the new year as farcical and wants it extended to eight weeks.

Cr Tormey called for an independent ecological assessment of the land and hopes to organise a site meeting for councillors

A council spokeswoman said the public exhibition period had been extended to eight weeks and will be on public exhibition in February.

"The planning proposal seeks to boost environmental conservation of more than 90% of significant bushland under review by identifying some 1059 hectares to be rezoned from rural to E2 environmental conservation," she said.

"[The] council will discuss potential state government acquisition of the proposed E2 zoned land with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the private owners of the land, and is seeking the assistance of Londonderry MP Bart Bassett to expedite these discussions."

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