City council to utilize aerial photography for tackling illegal clearing of vegetation

City council to utilize aerial photography for tackling illegal clearing of vegetation

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Wollongong, NSW, Australia, July 17, 2006: The Wollongong City Council is getting serious and enforcing land clearing laws. It is also prepared to go high-tech to find offenders. Aerial photography of Wollongong will be the key to finding and prosecuting people who have illegally cleared vegetation around the city.

Wollongong City Council Environment Manager Lisa Miller said a team of workers will soon embark on a project to compare aerial images with those taken five years ago. Changes in vegetation density between 2001 and 2006 images will alert council officers to the possible illegal removal of vegetation.

“Within the next couple of weeks we expect the latest aerial shots to be completed and on our system,” Ms Miller said. “If people have lodged the required applications with council there won’t be a problem, but we expect to find a huge number of land clearing offences.

“There is a lot of land clearing going on with plenty of people claiming bushfire prevention as the reason, but there are other possible motivations.” Ms Miller said she believed a lot of people had misinterpreted details of the Illawarra Escarpment Management Plan. The plan assesses the current condition of the Illawarra escarpment, identifies the threatening processes that degrade this asset and outlines proposed planning, management and implementation strategies to sustainably plan and manage the escarpment into the future.