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ENVIRONMENTAL

ASSESSMENT
PROPOSED 132Kv SUBTRANSMISSION LINE
FROM WILLIAMSDALE TO THEODORE

SOUTHERN ELECTRICITY SUPPLY TO THE ACT

30 JUNE 2008

Project Team
Proponent
The General Manager Networks
ActewAGL
ActewAGL House
221 London Circuit
Canberra City ACT 2600

Consultant Team
Purdon Associates
Planning Assessment, Reporting
3/9 McKay Street
Turner ACT 2612
Ph: 02 6257 1511
Fax: 02 6248 8347
Geoff Butler & Associates
Ecological Assessment
38 Birchmans Grove,
Wamboin, NSW 2620
Ph/Fax: 02 6236 9158
Vertego Environmental Consultants
GPO Box 3268
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: 02 62491560
Fax: 02 62473227
Navin Officer
Cultural Heritage Assessment
4/71 Leichhardt Street
Kingston ACT 2604
Ph: 02 6282 9415
Fax: 02 6282 9416
Australian Bushfire Protection Planners
Bushfire Assessment
RMB 3411 Dog Trap Road
SOMERSBY 2250 NSW
Ph: 02 43622112
Fax: 02 43622204
LandData Survey
Route Survey
3/151 Newcastle Street
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Ph: 02 6239 3088
Fax: 02 6239 3089
Coffey Geotechnics
Geotechical Assessment
16 Midura St
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Ph: 02 6260 7288
Fax: 02 6260 7211

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
General
In 2005 the ACT Government determined that a southern point of electricity supply
to the ACT be constructed. A subsequent study by ActewAGL and TransGrid in
2006 identified a number of technical upgrades to the ACTs power supply that
would be required in order to maintain sufficient supply.
An element in this series of infrastructure upgrades and new facilities is the
construction by ActewAGL of a new 132kV dual circuit subtransmission line between
a proposed TransGrid substation south of Williamsdale and the existing network
south of Theodore, a distance of approximately 15kms. This proposed development
will be an ActewAGL asset and is subject to this environmental assessment.
Separate but related assessments have been prepared by TransGrid for the
proposed substation at Williamsdale and for the transmission line upgrade from
Williamsdale to the Canberra substation at West Belconnen.
The main objectives of the Williamsdale to Theodore 132kV subtransmission line
project are to:
provide a reliable and secure electricity supply to ACT customers including
Commonwealth Government agencies
provide sufficient capacity to meet current and predicted future demand
deliver an expanded network that balances efficient and effective security of
supply with community needs
ensure the prudent expenditure of public funds
achieve a value-for-money investment
adopt a route for the new power line that minimises environmental impact and
disruption to existing rural lessees.
The proposed development comprises provision of a dual circuit 132kV
subtransmission line with the following design features:

single 29m length (24-25m above ground) concrete or steel poles set at
approximately 150m apart, and including twin pole structures at points along the
route where the line direction changes

each pole supporting six double circuit conductors (12 wires) and two earth
wires

establishment of a 45m wide easement or corridor to accommodate the


subtransmission lines

installation of conductors with an aged finish to have a dull sheen

use of two temporary site compounds along the route during construction

construction / maintenance access.

The proposed subtransmission line route subject to evaluation in this report follows
an initial route selection study undertaken by Purdon Associates for ActewAGL in
2006.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Tension Poles

Suspension Pole

Note: The above examples show 6 single conductors; the proposed development proposes double circuit
conductors

The route selection study identified and evaluated the most appropriate route
option between the proposed Williamsdale substation and the existing ActewAGL
network. Three broad corridors were considered:
A straight line route from the Williamsdale Substation to Theodore traversed
large areas of Native Reserve in the Act, as well as passing close to a number of
existing rural dwellings. This route was not considered appropriate.
A route following the Monaro Highway road corridor was discounted for several
reasons including: visual impact as seen by travellers along this gateway into the
national capital; direct impact on a number of rural lessees; and impact on a
heritage shearing shed
A route in NSW running parallel to the Monaro Highway was discounted because
of the need to provide the ActewAGL asset inside the ACT.
The preferred corridor which is subject to the current proposal is a compromise
route that avoids incursion into adjacent nature reserves, is visually unobtrusive as
seen from the Monaro Highway, as well as maintaining network efficiency and
minimising impact on rural leaseholders.
Schematic Diagram of ACT Network

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Route Description
The proposed route for the 132kV subtransmission line between the proposed
Williamsdale substation to the Theodore network is discussed in this report in terms
of the following sectors:
Southern Sector - follows the existing TransGrid electricity towers from the
proposed substation to the northern side of Angle Crossing Road, connecting to
the central sector
Central Sector - generally extends northward adjacent to the Rob Roy Nature
Reserve and west of Guises Creek
Northern Sector - commences near the rural dwelling on Block 1651 and
extends north-west to connect with the existing ActewAGL network near the
Theodore substation
Context of proposed subtransmission line Williamsdale to Theodore

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Aerial Photograph of the proposed route

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Consultation
The route selection process and environmental assessment report preparation has
involved consultations with all affected rural lessees and relevant government
agencies.
Feedback gained from the consultation has been considered by ActewAGL and the
Project Team in the preparation of this report, and has resulted the further
assessment of several route options.

Existing Conditions
The proposed subtransmission lines run in a north-south direction within mostly
cleared agricultural land, in undulating topography, between the foothills of Rob
Roy Nature Reserve to the west and the Monaro Highway to the east.
A large part of the route is located within the Guises Creek catchment. All of the
route is located within the Murrumbidgee Catchment. The line route crosses
several drainage lines and creeks including Guises Creek.
The region surrounding the study area comprises an undulating landscape
incorporating the slopes of the Rob Roy Range, the Murrumbidgee River valley and
Guises Creek valley.
The land uses within the general locality include grazing, other agricultural uses and
rural residential dwellings.
The route traverses seven (7) existing rural leases which have substantially
modified vegetation and are used primarily for cattle and sheep grazing.
The northern and southern sectors of the route traverse identified areas of Yellow
Box Red gum woodland/grassland community. The central sector passes through
substantially modified native vegetation in the Guises Creek area.
A search of the ACT Aboriginal Sites Database and Heritage Register indicated that
33 previously recorded Aboriginal sites may be affected by the construction of the
Williamsdale to Theodore Power line. These sites comprise 25 artefact scatters
(including a possible stone arrangement and a potential archaeological deposit) and
8 isolated finds. There are no previously recorded European historic sites within the
proposed route corridor.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Impacts on the Environment


This environmental assessment has considered impacts of the proposed route on
the physical, human and natural environment.
The assessment of environmental impacts has shown that the proposed
development will have some level of impact on the physical environment in all
sectors, but will not create problems of a magnitude that could not be either
overcome or mitigated in various ways.
The route would have some impact on native vegetation and habitat, particularly in
forest areas, necessitating the removal of some trees of ecological and/or landscape
value. The main influence of endangered fauna species on the route selection
relates mostly to the likely loss of woodland habitat for the identified endangered
birds that utilise woodland habitats. However, it is possible to undertake the
development within the identified corridor in a manner that the transmission lines,
poles and access tracks do not significantly impact on known important fauna
habitat or the individual recordings of threatened species.
The proposed subtransmission route would be visible from a number of public
vantage points, the distance between the lines and the road, as well as siting of the
power lines, intervening topography and vegetation. The densely vegetated
background of the Rob Roy Range has high visual absorption capacity which will
enable the poles to readily blend into the background.
The power lines will be seen from a number of rural properties along the route,
although the minimum distance between dwellings and the subtransmission line is
approximately 500m.
Although a number of heritage resources have been identified within the general
area of the route, none are of such significance or geographic extent to prohibit the
proposed subtransmission line. Minor route deviations and/or mitigation would be
possible to address these issues at the detailed design and construction stage.
The electric and magnetic fields generated by the subtransmission lines are likely to
have negligible effect on the existing electric and magnetic field readings in and
around houses along the route due to the distance between the lines and the
dwellings.

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Conclusions
The environmental assessment report has detailed a proposed development by
ActewAGL for the provision of a dual circuit 132kV subtransmission line between
Williamsdale and Theodore, and has identified potential impacts on the physical,
human and natural environment.
The report represents information and assessment required as an input to overall
decision-making by ActewAGL and the Territory on the proposed subtransmission
lines.
During preparation of the environmental assessment, a number of route options
within the preferred corridor were examined by ActewAGL in response to issues
raised during stakeholder consultations. This input has been able to inform and
materially influence the route refinement process, and the subsequent assessment
of the environmental impact of the route. The preferred route and technical
solutions adopted by ActewAGL to minimise overall impact of the proposed
development have been assessed in this report.
The report concludes that the proposed subtransmission lines would have a number
of potential benefits as follows:
increased reliability and security of electricity supply to existing and future
customers
cost effective development of all future components of the network.
some local employment generation
injection of capital works funding into the local economy.
The assessment made in this report shows that whilst the proposed development
will have varying impacts along the route on loss of vegetation, site access/egress,
and rural amenity. Proposed mitigation measures can be adopted by ActewAGL and
implemented at the development stage to minimise local environmental impact.
Specific mitigation measures have been identified and detailed in the report to
address the following environmental matters:
Site contamination and waste management
Stormwater drainage and water quality
social impact
safety and security
air quality
property values
noise
visual impact
land use
stock management
bushfire risk
native vegetation and fauna
In summary, it is considered that the wider project objectives, preferred route and
recommended mitigation measures would outweigh the localised environmental
impact on both the natural and human environment along the proposed route.
June 2008

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1GENERAL INFORMATION........................................................... 1
1.1 Introduction ................................................................................... 2
1.1.1 Background ............................................................................................
1.1.2 Southern Supply to the ACT ......................................................................
1.1.3 Name and Address of Proponent ................................................................
1.1.4 Status of the Project ................................................................................
1.1.5 Outline of Proposed Development...............................................................
1.1.6 Environmental Assessment........................................................................
1.1.7 Development Application ..........................................................................

2
2
3
3
6
8
8

1.2 Location of the Project.................................................................. 10


1.2.1 Location ................................................................................................ 10
1.2.2 Possible Future Extensions ....................................................................... 12

1.3 Description of the Project ............................................................. 12


1.3.1 Type of Development .............................................................................. 12
1.3.2 Purpose and Need ................................................................................... 15
1.3.3 Consultation .......................................................................................... 16
1.3.4 Relationship to Surrounding Development .................................................. 18

CHAPTER 2EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS .............................. 19


2.1 Description of the Project Site ...................................................... 20
2.1.1 Topography & Drainage ........................................................................... 20
2.1.2 Geology ................................................................................................ 22
2.1.3 Flora ..................................................................................................... 24
2.1.4 Fauna ................................................................................................... 26
2.1.5 Heritage ................................................................................................ 27
2.1.6 Land Use ............................................................................................... 30
2.1.7 Landscape and Views .............................................................................. 31

2.2 Description of the Region Surrounding the Project Site ................ 31


2.3 Current Land Use Policy and Lease Conditions of the Site ............. 33
2.3.1 National Capital Plan ............................................................................... 33
2.3.2 EPBC Act 1999 ....................................................................................... 35
2.3.3 Territory Plan ......................................................................................... 35
2.3.4 Spatial Plan ........................................................................................... 36
2.3.5 Current Lease Conditions ......................................................................... 38

CHAPTER 3POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE PROJECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT 40


3.1 Impact on the Physical Environment ............................................ 41
3.1.1 Geotechnical Impact ............................................................................... 41
3.1.2 Site Contamination ................................................................................. 42
3.1.3 Stormwater Drainage and Water Quality .................................................... 43
3.1.4 Traffic and Access ................................................................................... 45

3.2 Impact on the Human Environment .............................................. 45


3.2.1 Social Impact ......................................................................................... 45
3.2.2 Safety and Security Measures ................................................................... 46
3.2.3 Air Quality ............................................................................................. 46
3.2.4 Economic Impact .................................................................................... 47
3.2.5 Electromagnetic Fields ............................................................................. 48
3.2.6 Noise Assessment ................................................................................... 48
3.2.7 Visual Impact ......................................................................................... 49
3.2.8 Land Use ............................................................................................... 52
3.2.9 Cultural Heritage .................................................................................... 53
3.2.10 Bushfire Assessment .......................................................................... 53

3.3 Non-Human Biological Environment ............................................. 55


3.3.1 Impacts on Native Vegetation and Habitat .................................................. 55

CHAPTER 4SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ................................................ 58


4.1 Summary ...................................................................................... 59
4.1.1 Physical Environment .............................................................................. 59
4.1.2 Human Environment ............................................................................... 59
4.1.3 Natural Environment ............................................................................... 59
4.1.4 Summary of Mitigation Measures .............................................................. 59
4.1.5 Benefits ................................................................................................ 63

4.2 Conclusions .................................................................................. 64


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Figures
NOTE:

FIGURES 13 23 ARE AT THE END OF THE REPORT

Figure 1:

Schematic Arrangement of ACT Electricity Network ............................ 5

Figure 2:

Metropolitan Context ..................................................................... 9

Figure 3:

Location .................................................................................... 11

Figure 4:

Surrounding Land Uses ................................................................ 18

Figure 5:

Topography and Drainage ............................................................ 21

Figure 6:

Vegetation ................................................................................. 25

Figure 7:

Heritage Items ........................................................................... 29

Figure 8:

Surrounding Region ..................................................................... 32

Figure 9:

Extract from National Capital Plan ................................................. 34

Figure 10: Territory Plan ............................................................................ 37


Figure 11: Land Tenure .............................................................................. 39
Figure 12: Visual Assessment ...................................................................... 50
Figure 13: Route Sectors Southern, Central, Northern
Figure 14: Route Detail - Block 1653, Southern Sector
Figure 15: Route Detail Blocks 1470 & 1471, Southern Sector
Figure 16: Route Detail Blocks 1644 & 116, Central Sector
Figure 17: Route Detail Block 1623, Central Sector
Figure 18: Route Detail Block 1651, Central Sector
Figure 19: Route Detail Block 1533, Northern Sector
Figure 20: Route Detail Block 1635, Northern Sector
Figure 21: Vegetation Details Southern Sector
Figure 22: Vegetation Details Central Sector
Figure 23: Vegetation Details Northern Sector

Attachments
Attachment A: EMF Profiles Study (ActewAGL)
Attachment B: Ecological Assessment and Natural Resource Management (Geoff
Butler and Associates)
Attachment C: Cultural Heritage Assessment (Navin Officer)
Attachment D: Bushfire Assessment (ABPP)
Attachment E: Geotechnical Assessment (Coffey Geosciences)

Any representation, statement, opinion or advice expressed or implied in this publication is made in good
faith but on the basis that Purdon Associates, their agents and employees are not liable to any person
for any damage or loss whatsoever which has occurred or may occur, in relation to that person taking or
not taking (as the case may be) action, in respect of any representation, statement or advice referred to
in this report.

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Chapter 1
General Information

This Chapter provides details on the proponent, as well as the geographic location
and proposed type of development.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 Background
The ACT currently receives the bulk of its electricity supply via the NSW electricity
grid through one substation operated by TransGrid and located at West Belconnen
near Holt. The electricity supply is delivered to the ACT by TransGrid and
distributed by ActewAGL within Canberra.
The electricity supply system is broadly comprised of three functional tiers:
generation
bulk transmission and distribution
reticulation of electricity to customers.
Most of the electricity consumed in the ACT is generated at interstate power
stations and supplied to the electricity grid at high voltages. Transmission lines
carry this bulk electricity to a high capacity (330kV) substation located at West
Belconnen. It is from this location that ActewAGL currently source 95% of their
power. The electricity is taken at 132kV and 66kV from TransGrid and distributed
by ActewAGL through subtransmission lines to a network of zone substations
located throughout Canberra, where a further reduction of the voltage occurs
before reticulation through the distribution network to consumers.
In 2005 the ACT Government determined that a southern point of electricity supply
to the ACT be constructed and provided by TransGrid and ActewAGL in accordance
with electricity supply reliability criteria. Compliance with these criteria in
establishing a southern supply point would allow electrical supply to Canberra to be
maintained in the event of a special contingency that partially or fully removes
TransGrids Canberra substation at West Belconnen from operation.
In response to the ACT Government's reliability criteria, ActewAGL and TransGrid
formed a Working Group to conduct a joint study of the medium to long term
options of electricity supply to the ACT. The Working Group identified a number of
technical upgrades to the ACT's power supply that would be required in order to
maintain sufficient supply and meet the criteria. The upgrade includes:
the construction of a 330/132kV substation at Williamsdale
the construction of a 132kV subtransmission line between the proposed
Williamsdale substation and the existing ActewAGL network.
the conversion of the Williamsdale to Canberra transmission line from a double
circuit 132kV to single circuit 330kV.

1.1.2 Southern Supply to the ACT


The overall project is referred to as the Southern Supply to the ACT and involves
several component elements being separately supplied and maintained by
TransGrid and ActewAGL.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

It represents a new large transmission network asset and a new large distribution
asset that addresses the Network Service Criteria required by the Act Government.
However, the specific development that is the subject of this environment
assessment is the construction of a 132kV subtransmission line between
the proposed Williamsdale substation and the existing ActewAGL network.
The main purpose of the proposed subtransmission line is to provide a reliable and
secure supply to ACT customers, including Commonwealth Government agencies.

1.1.3 Name and Address of Proponent


General Manager Networks
ActewAGL
ActewAGL House
221 London Circuit
Canberra City ACT 2600
GPO Box 366
Canberra City ACT 2601

1.1.4 Status of the Project


ActewAGL owns the subtransmission and distribution networks within the ACT and
is responsible for planning and developing those networks.
TransGrid and ActewAGL have responsibilities under the National Electricity Rules to
carry out joint planning to facilitate the optimal development of connections
between the transmission and distribution networks within ActewAGLs network
area.
Concurrent to the preparation of this environmental assessment, a separate report
is also being prepared by TransGrid for the proposed substation site at
Williamsdale. The proposed transmission lines that are the subject of this report
will connect to this substation.
The ACT Government has recently prepared Network Service Criteria (contained in
the ACT Disallowable Instrument, Utilities Exemption 2006 No 1 under Utilities Act
2000) applying to TransGrids network supplying the ACT. The criteria require
(inter alia) TransGrid to provide by 2009 two or more geographically separate
electricity connection points (substations) at 132 kV and above to supply the ACT.
Essentially this requires establishment of a southern 330/132kV substation and
132kV connections to the existing ActewAGL network by 2009 and provision of a
second 330kV supply to this new substation, independent of the Canberra
330/132kV substation, by 2012.
TransGrid will provide a 330/132kV substation in the south-east area of the ACT,
connecting into the existing Canberra to Cooma 132kV lines. A substation at
Williamsdale will also meet the reliability criteria recently established by the ACT
Government to ensure diversity of supply to the ACT.
ActewAGL takes supply at 132kV from the Canberra 330/132kV substation (located
on Parkwood Road West Belconnen, near Holt) and at 66kV from Queanbeyan

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

132/66kV substation. The Canberra 330/132kV substation supplies Queanbeyan


substation and the Cooma/Bega area. (Figure 1 refers).
ActewAGL will provide the 132 kV connection from Williamsdale to the existing ACT
subtransmission network.
This environmental assessment follows initial line route selection studies
undertaken by Purdon Associates for ActewAGL in 2006, and further refinement of
the route selection process after consultation with ACT Government Agencies and
local lessees throughout the first half of 2007. The Route Selection and Route
Refinement tasks evaluated the various route options between the proposed
Williamsdale substation and the existing ActewAGL network.
The route selection report firstly identified and evaluated three broad corridors. A
further potential corridor establishing a straight line route from the Williamsdale
Substation to Theodore was not considered appropriate as it traversed large areas
of Native Reserve in the ACT, as well as passing close to a number of existing rural
dwellings.
The three corridors considered in the study comprised:
an eastern corridor in NSW dismissed by both TransGrid and ActewAGL on
the grounds that it did not meet functional and administrative requirements of
the network and would pass through new urban settlement
a western corridor in the ACT through nature reserves dismissed by ACT
Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation) on the grounds of
major environmental impact
a central corridor between the Monaro Highway and Rob Roy Nature Reserve
adopted as the preferred corridor, subject to more detailed assessment.
The preferred corridor was then further examined to identify a preferred route
within it based on a range of route selection criteria including environmental
features, network efficiency and impact on leaseholders.
The further three (3) route alignments within the preferred corridor that were
evaluated, included:

Monaro Highway

central valley

western edge.

The western edge option in the Central Corridor is the preferred route and
the subject of this assessment.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

Figure 1:

Schematic Arrangement of ACT Electricity Network

The overall network augmentation involves:


construction of a 132kV double circuit line to connect Williamsdale to the
ActewAGL 132kV network in the Theodore area
conversion of the existing transmission line between West Belconnen (Canberra
Substation) and Williamsdale, which presently operates as a double circuit
132kV line, to operate at 330kV to supply Williamsdale (subject to separate PA)
establishment of a ring of 330kV lines surrounding the ACT and supplying a
new 330/132kV substation in the Williamsdale area
construction of a two transformer 330/132kV substation at Williamsdale
provision of 330kV line switchbays at Canberra (West Belconnen) substation
reconnection of the two Cooma 132kV circuits to Williamsdale
upgrading of ActewAGLs existing Theodore Gilmore 132kV subtransmission
lines (second stage of the project)
construction of a single circuit 330kV line from Williamsdale to the Bungendore
area to complete the 330kV ring (possible future development subject to
approval by Australian Energy Regulator, not subject of this assessment)
augmentation of Williamsdale substation to provide an additional transformer
and to connect the new 330kV line from the Bungendore area (possible future
development subject to approval by Australian Energy Regulator, not subject of
this assessment)

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

construction of a 330kV switching station in the Bungendore area (possible


future development subject to approval by Australian Energy Regulator, not
subject of this assessment)
The total project is referred to as the Southern Supply to the ACT. It involves a
number of component tasks performed by both TransGrid and ActewAGL,
depending on the responsibility of each agency.
While the overall project involves 2 proponents and 3 separate, but interrelated
projects, it is the intention of both proponents (ActewAGL and TransGrid) to
concurrently submit their respective Development Applications to enable concurrent
consideration by ACTPLA and other ACT Government agencies.

1.1.5 Outline of Proposed Development


The scope of the proposed 132kV subtransmission line extension comprises the
construction of a 15.9km section between the proposed TransGrid substation south
of Williamsdale and the existing ActewAGL subtransmission network near the
Theodore Zone Substation.
The proposed development consists of 132kV double circuit line on single concrete
or steel poles with spans of approximately 150 along the route. A 45m wide
easement along this route is sought by ActewAGL to ensure ease of access for
construction and maintenance as well as tree management and land use controls
under and adjacent to the subtransmission lines. Normal farming activities
including access to paddocks within the easement can continue unaffected by the
subtransmission lines.
ActewAGL considers that sufficient provisions are included in the existing Utilities
Act 2000 and (Electricity) Public Safety Regulations to allow ActewAGL to operate
the lines without establishing a formal easement. However, the ActewAGL position
is that if the easement is established, a greater certainty and protection would be
provided to the leaseholders and to ActewAGL through the direct clarification of
restrictions and mutual obligations. It is intended that ActewAGL would have
ownership of all subtransmission line assets, but would not seek a lease or
ownership of the land under the subtransmission lines.
Elements of the proposed development for which this environmental assessment
report is prepared comprise the following:
construction of a double circuit 132kV subtransmission line from Williamsdale to
existing ActewAGL network
establishment of a 45m wide easement to accommodate the two
subtransmission lines
approximately 90-100 suspension poles plus approximately 15 sets of twin
tension poles, all to be 24-25m high (above ground) and constructed of
concrete or steel, and each pole supporting 12 conductors (wires) and two
earth wires
installation of conductors with an aged finish to have a dull sheen
use of two site compounds during construction
construction of access / maintenance trails.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

Tension Poles

Suspension Pole
Note: The above examples show 6 single conductors; the proposed development proposes double circuit
conductors

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

1.1.6 Environmental Assessment


The specialist studies undertaken by members of the consultant team form
attachments to this report. These studies encompassed the enlarged area
(comprising a 100m corridor plus adjoining areas and investigating a range of
potential route options), not just the immediate path of the preferred route of the
transmission line as detailed in this report.
Throughout this report the study area refers to the enlarged area and the site or
subject site refers to the actual route of the subtransmission line. In some
instances there are references to matters of significance in the study area but these
matters do not necessarily imply that the matter affects the line.

1.1.7 Development Application


This environmental assessment report accompanies a Development Application for
the 132kV subtransmission line and forms part of a package of information
relating to the overall proposals and contained in separate reports.
The package also includes:
Environmental Assessment for proposed TransGrid 330/132kV substation at
Williamsdale
Development Application for proposed substation
Environmental Assessment for upgrade of existing TransGrid 132kV
transmission lines to 330kV.
However each of these three items are the subject of independent assessment
reports and Development Applications.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

Figure 2:

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Metropolitan Context

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

1.2 Location of the Project


1.2.1 Location
The study area is located in the south-eastern corner of the ACT and extends from
Williamsdale near the NSW/ACT border to the existing ActewAGL network between
the Gilmore and Theodore substations (Figure 2 and Figure 3 refer). This area
generally comprises a valley adjacent to the Monaro Highway and has an
approximate distance of 15.9km.
For the purposes of describing specific attributes of the route in this PA, the total
route length has been divided into 3 sectors:
The southern section commences at the proposed TransGrid Williamsdale
substation to be located within Block 1653 Tuggeranong (The Angle) and
extends westward for 800m then north-west for 1.3km adjacent to and parallel
with the existing TransGrid transmission line and traversing Block 1471, Angle
Crossing Road and Block 1653 Tuggeranong (Burraburoo). Within Block 1636
the route extends generally north-east across open farmland for approximately
2km. The route deviates near the northern boundary of Block 1636 for
approximately 500m to avoid, as far as practicable, areas of high value Yellow
Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland and to cross a valley without the need to enter
either the Gigerline Nature Reserve or the Rob Roy Nature Reserve. The route
then traverse the southern section of Block 1644 Tuggeranong (Guises Flat)
and extends northward across block 116 and again across block 1644 for
approximately 1.5km. The route at this point is adjacent to the eastern
boundary of Rob Roy Nature Reserve and, while the nature reserve boundary
does not correspond with the cadastral or lease boundaries at this location, the
route remains within leased land.
The central section of the route extends in a generally north-east direction for
a distance of approximately 2km from Block 1644 Tuggeranong (Guises Flat)
across open farmland west of Guises Creek traversing 1623 (Sunny Lane).
The route again deviates for 300m within Block 1623 to avoid an area of high
value scribbly gums and an area of high value snow gums. The route then
extends generally northwards for approximately 3.5km into block 1651
Tuggeranong (Rose Hill).
The northern section of the route extends northward from the northern part
of Block 1651 Tuggeranong across open farmland into Block 1633 (Bellview)
for a distance of approximately 500m then the route traverses an area of
Yellow Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland within Block 1633 for a distance of
approximately 2km. The route then deviates to the north-west and traverses
the Rob Roy Nature Reserve to the west of Callaghans Hill for a distance of
approximately 1.5km. The route then ends within Block 1684 Tuggeranong
connecting with the existing ActewAGL network near the Theodore Zone
Substation, which is located within the Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve.

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Figure 3:

Location

EXISTING ACTEWAGL 132Kv


SUBTRANSMISSION LINES
(THEODORE TO GILMORE
ROB ROY
NATURE
RESERVE

NORTHERN
SECTOR

BELL VIEW

ROSE HILL

ROB ROY
NATURE RESERVE

CENTRAL
SECTOR

SUNNY LANE

GUISES FLAT
GIGERLINE
NATURE
ESERVE

SOUTHERN
SECTOR

EXISTING
TRANSGRID
TRANSMISSION
LINES

BURRABUROO

THE ANGLE
PROPOSED TRANSGRID
SUBSTATION SITE

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1.2.2 Possible Future Extensions


The overall subtransmission route represents the full scope of the proposed new
subtransmission lines.
There are no plans for further duplication of the proposed line within the study
area.

1.3 Description of the Project


1.3.1 Type of Development
ActewAGL intend to construct a 132kV subtransmission line having 440 MegaVolt
Amps (MVA) continuous capacity from the proposed TransGrid substation at
Williamsdale to a connection with the existing 132kV Gilmore to Theodore
subtransmission lines.
The proposed transmission line will be constructed using concrete extruded poles of
29m length (24-25m height above ground) or alternatively steel poles (rather than
steel towers) of the same height. The required easement width for the proposed
transmission line is 45m. Management and ownership of the new 132kV
subtransmission line will be ActewAGL's responsibility.
The existing 132kV Gilmore to Theodore subtransmission lines each have a
continuous capacity of 220MVA. It is proposed to upgrade this section of the
network to continuous capacity of 440MVA for each line but this work is not part of
this assessment report.
During construction, access along the transmission line will be required for heavy
articulated vehicles for the delivery of poles, other heavy vehicles for the boring
and excavation of pole foundations, large cranes, and vehicles for the stringing and
erection of the line conductors.
Access to the route will be provided by the installation of gates in fence lines along
the route, some of which may need to be earthed, and the possible construction of
culverts in creek crossings where an alternative access is not available.
The constructed transmission line will need to allow for access by heavy vehicles
and 4WD vehicles at any point for the regular inspection and maintenance of the
lines including vegetation management and after fault inspections. Low flying
aircraft may also be used to carry out inspection of the lines on an annual basis.
Access will also be required for line crews and elevating platform vehicles when
repair of a line is necessary.
Support Structures (Poles)
The location and number of support structures required is a primary function of the
following variables which reflect industry and safety standards:
minimum ground clearance
easement width (which governs horizontal movement of conductors).

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The preliminary design provides for approximately 90-95 poles to be erected. This
comprises suspension poles and tension poles. Suspension poles support the
weight of the conductors in straight sections of the alignment. Tensions poles are
stronger, intended to support the full conductor tension in addition to the weight of
conductors and the effects of the wind. Tension poles would be required at
approximately 10 locations where the alignment changes direction, and each
tension pole supports 3 double conductors. The remainder of the poles would be
suspension poles.
The average height of the poles would be approximately 24-25m above the ground
with an average span of 150m. However, the span length and the height of the
conductors may vary due to site specific factors such as topography.
Conductors (Wires)
Each pole would support three circuits, with each circuit comprising two sets of
paired Uranus conductors. The conductors would be separated at approximately
50m intervals by aluminium alloy spacers to reduce the likelihood of shorting. The
conductors would be configured in a vertical arrangement. The vertical separation
between the conductors would be approximately 2.5m.
The conductors would be aluminium with the overall diameter approximately
27mm.
During manufacture, the conductors would be subjected to a sand-blasting
technique known as shadow-lining to produce an aged finish with a very dull
sheen. The conductors would be attached to the support poles by polymer
insulators.
Double earth wires would be provided at the top of each pole, approximately 2.5m
above the upper conductor. The overall diameter of each earth wire would be
approximately 18mm and is comprised of a fibre optic core surrounded by
aluminium-alloy wire strands. The fibre optic core provides a high speed telemetric
link enabling the real-time monitoring of network integrity and the rapid
identification of faults. The earth wire also protects the conductors in the event of
electrical storms by earthing any lightning strike.
Minimum safety clearances to the ground, roads and other utilities are required by
industry standards and would be maintained at all times. The line will be designed
to achieve a minimum ground clearance of 7m.

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Access Trails
For much of the proposed route, the subtransmission line will traverse open grazing
land or be adjacent to existing transmission lines. In these locations access for
construction and maintenance vehicles will be via existing tracks or across open
farmland. In the sections of the route where no tracks currently exist, it is
proposed to construct access trails. These trails will be similar in standard to fire
trails and as such will be constructed in accordance with the ACT Code of Forest
Practice, August 2005, which incorporates erosion and sediment control guidelines
and specifications in accordance with the TAMS Fire Access Standards/Guidelines.
Where construction or upgrading of existing tracks is required, they will have a
nominal width of 4 metres and a minimum pavement width of 3 metres. Generally
the track is to be designed with the crossfall into the slope to ensure that erosion
and seepage across the track surface is reduced, reducing long term maintenance
requirements. The crossfall is to be a minimum of 3 per cent and a maximum of 10
per cent.
Tracks will have at least a 0.5 per cent gradient to allow for surface drainage while
the maximum gradient, for the safe use by heavy vehicles, is 20 per cent.
Gradients between 10 and 20 percent will be subject to specific design
consideration as part of a Conservation & Environment Management Plan (CEMP)
with regard to track surfacing and stormwater control, in order to reduce erosion,
provide traction and stability for heavy vehicles, and reduce maintenance.
The surface of the trail will vary along the length of the transmission line route and
be influenced by soil type, gradient and stormwater flows. In most areas the trails
will have a crushed rock surface compacted to 95 per cent.
Short lengths of track such as across flat open grazing farmland may be treated
with grass stabilisation methods with grass infill to provide a functional yet visually
unobtrusive surface.
Erosion sediment control devices will be placed around the work areas to avoid
sediment entering creeks. These devices will take the form of a silt fence with a
temporary barrier of geotextile fabric (filter cloth) or hay bales (in areas outrside
high quality habitat areas), or a combination of both, used to intercept any
sediment laden run-off.

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Operation Maintenance
ActewAGL inspects all transmission lines annually. These inspections involve a
detailed examination of the condition of the line and associated assets, usually from
ground level with the use of visual aids such as binoculars. In some cases
inspections are carried out by aerial patrols. A 4WD vehicle would generally be
used to access each support structure for ground based inspections. In addition to
the ground inspection, all support structures are climbed every 6 years to confirm
their structural integrity.
Maintenance work is generally only required if routine patrols reveal a potential
problem or if a circuit sustains an electrical fault. Should ActewAGL need to return
to the site with heavy vehicles to undertake more extensive maintenance work,
lessees would be notified in advance. Under emergency conditions it may not be
possible to give such notification, in which case ActewAGL would contact lessees at
the first available opportunity. Any disturbance to properties caused during
maintenance would be repaired at the completion of work.
Construction and Workforce
The overall time frame for construction works is likely to be approximately six
months but activities would not be continuous on each property for all of this
period.
Construction work would include:
adjustments to fences and gates
access trails and clearing of some existing trees
drilling of pole footings and erection of poles
stringing and tensioning.
It is expected that the general hours of construction would be 7am to 6pm Monday
to Saturday.

1.3.2 Purpose and Need


The primary need for the development is to provide a 132kv line extension to the
new TransGrid substation for the ACT as a precaution against the failure of
TransGrids existing Canberra substation at West Belconnen. The ACT and
Commonwealth Governments recognised that having one major substation and line
for Canberra made the city vulnerable to disruption of electricity services.
The proposed works (substation, transmission line upgrade and new
subtransmission lines) will allow a second supply to Canberra from the Williamsdale
substation in the event of a loss of supply from the Canberra substation.
The National Electricity Rules requires that an augmentation or extension to the
transmission system should be identified by the Distribution Networks Service
Providers (DNSP).

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In response to these actions by ActewAGL, TransGrid is required to undertake an


analysis of why the new large transmission network is a "reliability augmentation"
and identify the actual or potential constraint or inability to meet network
performance requirements.
The Rules define a reliability augmentation as: A transmission network
augmentation that is necessitated solely by inability to meet the minimum network
performance requirements set out in schedule 5.1 or in relevant legislation,
regulations or any statutory instrument of a participating jurisdiction.
For reliability augmentations, the option that passes the regulatory test is the one
that minimises the cost of meeting the minimum network performance
requirements set out in the Rules or via a jurisdictional requirement.
DNSPs are required to carry out an economic cost effectiveness analysis of options,
to identify options that satisfy the regulatory test, to meet an identified necessity
for augmentation.
ActewAGL and TransGrid have jointly planned the 330kV and 132kV networks
supplying the Canberra area for many years. ActewAGL and TransGrid were also
required to consult with National Electricity Market participants in relation to the
proposed solutions and preferred option.
TransGrid and ActewAGL have carried out joint annual planning reviews as required
by the Rules and have identified that the new Network Service Criteria give rise to a
need for network augmentations and have carried out joint planning to determine
options for these augmentations. The review of options and the National Electricity
Market consultation process took place from September 2006 to January 2007. In
January 2007 ActewAGL and TransGrid completed the consultation process and
fulfilled the National Electricity Market related requirements.
As a result of joint planning for this proposal it has been agreed that in meeting the
above requirements, TransGrid will construct substation works and augmentation of
existing transmission lines, and that ActewAGL will construct any required 132kV
subtransmission line to its existing network.

1.3.3 Consultation
Rural Lessees
The proposed subtransmission line route traverses seven (7) rural leases (Refer
Table 2.1) and one public road (Angle Crossing Road). The rural lessees whose
land will be crossed by the proposed subtransmission line have been consulted at
various times throughout the study process, starting in May 2006 immediately
following the line route selection process and additionally in March 2007 and July
2007 during the preparation of this report.
The consultation process included an information package with Frequently Asked
Questions for leaseholders. Individual interviews were held with the lessees on
their land, and/or at ActewAGLs office in Tuggeranong, providing the opportunity
for lessees to show the consultant team and ActewAGL certain aspects of their land
and to describe future plans which may be affected by the proposed
subtransmission line.

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Government Agencies
As part of the route selection study process, two Agency workshops were held and
a broad number of Government agencies were given the opportunity to provide
comment on the proposed route. Agencies given a copy of the Line Route Selection
report (that preceded the preparation of this PA) were:
National Capital Authority
ACTPLA DA assessment
ACTPLA Leasing Section
ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation)
ACT Heritage Unit
Roads ACT
Additional meetings were held with ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment
& Recreation) and the National Capital Authority to discuss specific aspects of the
route options.
Outcomes of Consultation
The initial route selection study was prepared exclusive of consultation with
landholders but was defined with the intention that the route could be realigned in
response to issues raised. The reason the route was selected prior to consultation
was to provide stakeholders with some background information on which to base
their comments.
The main issues raised by the rural lessees included:
the potential loss of "quiet enjoyment"
impact on land values associated with sale of the property
the effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF)
adverse effects on views from rural dwellings
location of the lines restricting the location of future development including new
dwellings
potential for soil erosion and weed infestation
security concerns about unauthorised access to their land
impact on existing fencing and gates
potential tree loss along the route
impact on access for bushfire management
the suitability of soils along the route for construction purposes.
The meetings with ACT the Research & Monitoring team within ACT Parks
Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation) revealed a previously unmapped
endangered colony of snow gums surviving in atypical conditions.
The concerns of the stakeholders were used to help define the most suitable route
which would achieve the goals of ActewAGL but cause minimal disturbance to
environment and the lessees. A majority of lessees indicated support for the
project or a willingness to accept the subtransmission lines, however, at least one

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17

rural lessee remains strongly opposed to the passage of subtransmission lines


through the property.

1.3.4 Relationship to Surrounding Development


The proposed transmission line links Williamsdale substation and existing ACT
ActewAGL electricity network. Major land uses adjacent to the subtransmission line
include:
rural uses including grazing
nature park and reserves
Monaro Highway
Angle Crossing Road
rural residential dwellings
Williamsdale Service Station.
Figure 4:

Surrounding Land Uses

ROB ROY
NATURE
RESERVE

ROB ROY
NATURE
RESERVE
ROYALLA
GIGERLINE
NATURE
RESERVE
NAMADGI
NATIONAL
PARK

MURRUMBIDGEE
CORRIDOR

ANGLE
CROSING

WILLIAMSDALE

NSW

NOTE: GREEN SHADING DENOTES VEGETATION COVER


DARK GREEN SHOWS AREAS OF YELLOW BOX RED GUM GRASSY WOODLAND

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Chapter 2

Existing Environmental
Conditions

This Chapter provides details on the existing environmental conditions over the
length of the proposed route of the subtransmission lines.

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2.1 Description of the Project Site


For the purposes of describing the environmental conditions and potential impacts,
the proposed route has been divided into three sectors, as follows:
Southern Sector
Central Sector
Northern Sector
The Southern Sector commences at the site of the proposed TransGrid substation
and extends generally in a westerly direction then northerly direction adjacent to
the existing TransGrid transmission lines, crossing Angle Crossing Road and
extending to near the large dam on Block 1644 District of Tuggeranong.
The Central Sector generally extends northward adjacent to the Rob Roy Nature
Reserve and west of Guises Creek.
The Northern Sector commences near the rural dwelling on Block 1651 District of
Tuggeranong and extends north-west to connect with the existing ActewAGL
network near the Theodore substation.

2.1.1 Topography & Drainage


Southern Sector
The general topographic profile undulates gently forming a series of open hills
traversed by a number of minor northeast-southwest and southeast-northwest
trending natural drainage lines. The slope of the topography was observed to
steepen significantly in the vicinity of several of the drainage lines.
This southern sector is characterised by side slopes of a significant knoll located
immediately north of the proposed TransGrid substation site. The slopes are mostly
in the order of 10% but in the west of the sector the slopes are up to 21%.
Central Sector
The topography in the central part of the line route is generally identified as a
gently undulating valley floor traversed longitudinally by Guises Creek with a
number of small intermittent tributaries. The western edge of the line borders the
base of the Rob Roy Range where slopes are 0% - 21%.
The proposed route for the subtransmission line trends south to south-southwest
and runs roughly parallel with Guises Creek along the lower slopes of the hills to
the west. The general topography along this segment of the proposed route slopes
gently down towards the east-southeast. The proposed route traverses numerous
minor and predominantly southeast-northwest trending natural drainage lines,
which form a series of gently undulating east-southeast trending gullies and low
rounded spurs. The slope of the topography was observed to steepen in the
immediate vicinity of several of the more significant drainage lines.

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Northern Sector
The topography along this segment of the proposed route comprises moderate to
steep sided hills with a general slope down towards the east and northeast. The
proposed route traverses a number of southeast-northwest and northeastsouthwest trending natural drainage lines. The slope of the topography was
observed to steepen significantly in the immediate vicinity of several of the more
significant drainage lines.
Figure 5:

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Topography and Drainage

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

21

2.1.2 Geology
Southern Sector
The amount and prominence of outcrop along this segment of the proposed route is
varied. The 1977 Geological Survey of NSW, Department of Mines, 1:100,000 scale
geological map covering the Williamsdale Region (Michelago, Geological Series
Sheet 8726, Edition 1) indicates that this sector of the proposed route is underlain
by Late Silurian rhyolitic and rhyodacitic tuff, and minor siltstone, sandstone and
limestone of the Colinton Volcanics. The lithologies exposed in outcrop proximal to
Angle Crossing Road appear to exhibit rhyodacitic to rhyolitic compositions, with
quartz float evident in a number of places. Rock outcrops of rhyolitic composition
appear foliated and cut by a number of closely spaced (<200mm) joint sets. Rock
outcrops of rhyodacitic composition are also cut by a number of joint sets;
however, these outcrops appear more massive due to wider defect spacings and
the absence of any foliation.
Rock outcrops of rhyodacitic composition are assessed to be highly to moderately
weathered and of low to possibly high strength, whereas rock outcrops of rhyolitic
composition are assessed to be highly weathered and of low to medium strength.
The variability between rock outcrops, both in terms of extent and prominence, is
assessed to be related to the observed variability in lithology, with the most
prominent outcrops being characterised by the harder lithologies, fewer defects and
a lower susceptibility to weathering. Slickenlines can be observed on a number of
defect planes indicating that an amount of fault movement has occurred on those
planes.
Extremely weathered rhyodacitic and rhyolitic rocks are apparent as fine to coarse
grained gravelly sand, whereas colluvial soils predominantly comprise sandy
gravelly clay of low plasticity, with fine to coarse grained sand, fine to coarse
grained gravel and some low liquid limit silt. Both the colluvial soils and extremely
weathered rock appear to be shallow in the vicinity of rock outcrop and deeper
weathering profiles should be anticipated proximal to natural drainage lines.
The ground surface along the proposed route for the subtransmission line is
generally covered by low grasses and sparsely distributed small to medium sized
trees. The density of the vegetation, in particular the trees, was observed to
increase in the vicinity of the natural drainage lines.
Central Sector
The amount of outcrop along this segment of the proposed route is minor, with
outcrop typically only visible along the more significant drainage gullies and steeper
hill sides to the west. The ground surface along the proposed route for the
subtransmission line is generally covered by low grasses and sparsely distributed
small to medium sized trees. The density of the vegetation, as with Segment 1,
was observed to increase in the vicinity of the natural drainage lines. To the west
and upslope of the proposed route dense woodland forms a distinct tree line that
parallels Guises Creek.
The 1977 Geological Survey of NSW, Department of Mines, 1:100,000 scale
geological map covering the Williamsdale Region (Michelago, Geological Series
Sheet 8726, Edition 1) indicates that this section of the proposed route is underlain
by Late Silurian rhyolitic and rhyodacitic tuff, and minor siltstone, sandstone and
limestone of the Colinton Volcanics. To the west of the proposed subtransmission

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line route the geological map shows an inferred boundary between the rhyolitic and
rhyodacitic tuff and a tuff comprised of quartz and pink feldspar, which is also part
of the Colinton Volcanics. The inferred boundary between these lithological units
appears to correspond with a marked steepening of the east facing slopes and the
observed tree line that runs parallel to Guises Creek. The geological map also
shows occurrences of undifferentiated high-level gravels, sand, silt and tallus in the
vicinity of Guises Creek from about chainage CH 8400 to about CH 11600. The
exact extent and depth of these unconsolidated deposits is unknown.
It was not possible to gain access to this segment of the proposed route but the
geological map suggests that the subsurface profile will comprise rock types similar
to those observed in outcrop proximal to Angle Crossing Road and described below
in Section 2.3. The lack of outcrop along the proposed route between chainages CH
4600 and CH 11600 suggests a deeper soil profile, which may possibly be
attributable to the close proximity of the proposed route to Guises Creek and the
numerous minor drainage gullies in the vicinity or to colluvial soils developed as
slope wash off the hillsides.
A number of farm tracks visible to the west of Guises Creek and in the vicinity of
the proposed route, will aid access to the site.
Northern Sector
The amount of outcrop along this segment of the proposed route decreases
southwards, with extensive outcrop visible between chainages CH 0 and CH 2800
and minor outcrop visible between chainages CH 2800 and CH 4600. The ground
surface along the proposed route for the subtransmission line appears in general to
be covered by low grasses and sparsely to densely distributed small to medium
sized trees. The density of the vegetation, in particular the trees, was observed to
increase in the vicinity of natural drainage lines.
The 1992, Bureau of Mineral Resources 1:100,000 scale geological map covering
the Canberra Region (Canberra, Geological Series Sheet 8727, Edition 1) indicates
that a northeast-southwest trending fault traverses the proposed route at about
chainage CH 3800. The geological map indicates that the proposed route between
chainages CH 0 and CH 3800 is underlain by Late Silurian rhyodacitic ignimbrites
and minor volcaniclastic sediments and argillaceous sediments of the Deakin
Volcanics. South of the fault between chainages CH 3800 and CH 4600 the
proposed route is shown to be underlain by dacitic ignimbrite and minor
volcaniclastic sediments of the Colinton Volcanics.
The subsurface profile will comprise lithologies similar to those observed in outcrop
proximal to Angle Crossing Road. The soil profile appears to be shallow in the
vicinity of rock outcrop and deeper weathering profiles should be anticipated
proximal to natural drainage lines.

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2.1.3 Flora
Geoff Butler and Associates together with Vertigo Environmental Consultants were
engaged to undertake an assessment of the ecology along the route. This
assessment followed a desktop study which was undertaken at the route selection
stage. A copy of the Butler/Vertigo report is provided at Attachment B.
The Guises Creek valley is a contained valley comprising established grazing farms
adjacent to the forested hilly nature reserves. The area contains substantially or
severely modified native vegetation with some areas of moderately modified
woodland. North and south of the proposed route, this woodland comprises areas
of endangered Yellow-Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland.
Yellow Box-Red Gum is an open woodland community in which either or both Yellow
Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) and Blakely's Red Gum (E. Blakelyi) are usually
present and commonly dominant or co-dominant. The trees form an open canopy
above a species rich understorey of native tussock grasses, herbs and scattered
shrubs and are utilised by a large number of animal species.
The ACT Lowland Woodland Conservation Strategy seeks to protect the natural
integrity of the remaining lowland woodland ecosystems by maintain and improving
connectivity to other native vegetation including woodland, avoiding further
fragmentation and minimising harmful effects from adjacent land uses.
Most of the existing lowland woodland in the study area is identified as being
moderately modified. This woodland 'category' comprises grassy woodland where
grazing and other land uses have resulted in the loss of a significant component of
the understorey and led to other changes in the composition of understorey native
species.
Small sections of the study area comprise a partially modified lowland woodland
which is considered to retain relatively unchanged remnants of the pre-European
ecological community. These areas are considered to be of high natural integrity.
The Small Purple Pea (Swainsona recta) is another endangered species which has
also been recorded within the general study area, primarily along the railway line
forming the ACT/NSW border.
ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation) has advised that a
significant remnant grove of Snow Gum Tableland Woodland has been identified
along Guises Creek, close to the large farm dam. This vegetation community has
not been formally mapped by ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment &
Recreation) but has been broadly identified on Figure 22. Frost hollows in the study
area were also identified as possible habitats on the Snow Gum Tableland
Woodland. The Snow Gum Tableland Woodland is noted as being locally
endangered and possibly under greater threat of local extinction than other
woodland communities.
The route selection study identified that any chosen route through this valley would
from the loss of some tree cover and generate some ground disturbance resulting
in the need for clearance to subtransmission lines and maintenance access.
The presence of threatened species and endangered ecological communities within
the Guises Creek valley were key influences on route selection. It was not possible

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24

to identify any reasonable route that totally avoided the Yellow-Box Red Gum
Woodland community. However, the individual recordings of threatened species are
in isolated localities and finalisation of a route and pole locations within the
identified easement that avoids these specimens is possible.

Figure 6:

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Vegetation

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

25

2.1.4 Fauna
Geoff Butler and Associates together with Vertigo Environmental Consultants were
engaged to undertake an assessment of the ecology along the route. This
assessment followed a desktop study which was undertaken at the route selection
stage. A copy of the Butler/Vertigo report is provided at Attachment B.
Ecological resource data provided by ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment
& Recreation) identified that the Pink Tailed Worm-Lizard (Aprasia parapulchella)
has been recorded in the southwestern part of the study area, generally along the
Murrumbidgee River corridor.
The Pink Tailed Worm-Lizard generally inhabits open woodland area with
predominantly native grasses such as Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra). It is
found beneath small, partially embedded rocks but spends considerable time in
burrows. The main threat to this species is the removal of rocks and habitat and
the invasion of weeds.
The general study area has two threatened bird species recorded, the Brown Tree
Creeper (Climacteris picumnus) and the Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata).
In addition to the specific recordings of the above endangered species, Woodlands
provide important habitat for other bird species declared as threatened under the
Nature Conservation Act 1980. ACT Parks Conservation & Lands (Environment &
Recreation) have advised that any or all of the threatened or endangered bird
species in the general southern ACT region may pass through the area. These
include:
Swift Parrot (Lathamus dicolor)
Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii)
Painted Honeyeater (Grantiella picta)
Regent Honeyeater (Xanthomyza Phrygia).
Woodland animals are an intrinsic part of the overall functioning of woodland
ecosystems. They are essential for pollination and dispersal of many woodland
plants and are involved in nutrient recycling and maintenance of soil condition.
Loss of species can alter ecosystem processes, which may adversely affect the
health of the ecosystem.
Although Guises Creek valley is not regarded as an area of high ecological value it
contains several important species and is used by others in transit.
Tuggeranong Hill is used as a "hill-topping" site for butterfly courtship display
behaviour. This area is located between Conder and Theodore and, while outside
the study area, it is immediately adjacent and connected to the area through the
Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve. There are seven butterfly species recorded here,
including some species rarely seen in suburban settings. This area is also part of
the nationally significant honeyeater migration route.
The main influence of endangered fauna species on the route selection relates
mostly to the likely loss of woodland habitat for the identified endangered birds that
utilise woodland habitats. It is possible to construct the lines within the identified

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

26

easement to ensure that the transmission lines and poles do not significantly
impact on known important fauna habitat or the individual recordings of threatened
species.

2.1.5 Heritage
Aboriginal Heritage
Navin Officer Archaeological Consultants were engaged to undertake a desktop
assessment of the proposed subtransmission line route. The full report is provided
at Attachment C.
A search of the ACT Aboriginal Sites Database and Heritage Register indicated that
33 previously recorded Aboriginal sites may be affected by the construction of the
Williamsdale to Theodore Power line. They comprise 25 artefact scatters (including
a possible stone arrangement and a potential archaeological deposit) and 8 isolated
finds.
The following provides an inventory of previously recorded sites that may be
affected by construction activity and Figure 7 shows their location on topographic
maps of the area.
CR14 - ACT 1:10 000 210480 570150 (GDA/MGA 692637.6059984) This site is an
open scatter of five stone artefacts.
CR15 - ACT 1:10 000 210970 570270 (GDA/MGA 693130 6060093) This site is an
open scatter comprising quartz and silcrete flakes and chips.
TUG2 - Located in Block 1636 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 209736.571569
(GDA/MGA 691920.8.6061416 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least two
artefacts located on a low rise 200 m from an ephemeral creek.
TUG3 - Located in Block 1636 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 209757.571680
(GDA/MGA 691944.6061527 Buffer Zone 25 m) An open scatter of at least four
artefacts located on a low rise 250 m from an ephemeral creek.
MRC62 - ACT 1:10 000 209950.9.572121 (GDA/MGA 692146.9.6061964 Buffer
Zone 50m) Artefact scatter and possible stone arrangement located on the hilltop
west-southwest of Vallona Station. A scatter of quartz flakes occurs across the top
of the hill. Four flakes had nice retouched margins. Also across the flattened top of
the hill were scattered a large number of medium-sized stones. No overall pattern
could be seen but the relationship of some of these stones is suggestive of a stone
arrangement that has been all but destroyed. Six stones form part of one curve,
and three and four stones, respectively, appear to form part of two parallel lines.
TUG6 - Located in Block 116 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 210161.9.574121
(GDA/MGA 692398.7.6063959 Buffer Zone 25 m) An isolated stone artefact
located on flat level ground near a small creek.
TUG7 - Located in Block 1607 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 210119.0.574435
(GDA/MGA 692362.2.6064276 Buffer Zone 25 m) An open scatter of at least four
artefacts located on a small level rise 100 m from an ephemeral creek.

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TUG8 - Located in Block 1607 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 210506.9.575316


(GDA/MGA 692768.1.6065149 Buffer Zone 25 m) An isolated stone artefact
located on a small flat rise above an ephemeral creek.
TUG9 - Located in Block 1623 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 210674.576028
(GDA/MGA 692949.6.6065857 Buffer Zone 25 m) An open scatter on at least five
artefacts located on a crest, 500 m from a creek.
TUG10 - Located in Block 1623 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 210933.576592
(GDA/MGA 693218.6066414 Buffer Zone 25 m) An isolated stone artefact located
on a small spur.
CLSC9 - Located in Block 1633 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211660.8.580952
(GDA/MGA 694036.6.6070759 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least 17
artefacts located on a lower slope.
CLSC10 - Located in Block 1633 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211631.8.580789
(GDA/MGA 694004.3.6070597 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least five
artefacts located on a wetland spur.
CLSC11 - Located in Block 1633 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211581.1.580712
(GDA/MGA 693951.8.6070520 Buffer Zone 25m) An isolated stone artefact located
on the lower slope of a spur.
CLSC12 - Located in Block 1642 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211746.579547
(GDA/MGA 694091.6069353 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least 10
artefacts located mid-slope on a spur.
CLSC13 - Located in Block 1642 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211633.9.579097
GDA/MGA 693971.8.6068904 Buffer Zone 25m) This site consists of an isolated
stone artefact.
CLSC14 - Located in Block 1642 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211667.9.581372
(GDA/MGA 693703.4.608392 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least two
artefacts located on the lower slope of a spur.
CLSC15 - Located in Block 1642 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211363.9.578792
(GDA/MGA 693695.7.6068605 Buffer Zone 25m) An open scatter of at least 11
artefacts located on the slower slope of a creek margin.
CLSC16 - Located in Block 1642 Tuggeranong, ACT 1:10 000 211711.9.580132
(GDA/MGA 694070.9.6069937 Buffer Zone 25m) An isolated stone artefact located
on the upper slope of a spur.
RRF25 - ACT 1:10 000 210458.583500 (GDA/MGA 692884.6073331) This site is a
low density scatter on the surface of a fire trail that passes through a shallow
saddle. Artefacts are apparent along approximately 70m of trail. It is likely that
the site extends across most of the saddle feature. The local soils have moderate
potential to contain in situ archaeological material.
RRF26 - ACT 1:10 000 210274.584184 (GDA/MGA 692714.6074017) This site
contains an estimated 30-50 artefacts extending along approximately 200m of fire
trail in a wide saddle setting. The site extends through the saddle to a trail T
intersection south of an overhead subtransmission line corridor. Artefacts are

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apparent eroding from cuttings along the edge of the trail. Local deposit is mostly
gravelly clay with some loamy soil in the saddle. The potential for additional
artefacts at the location is high.
RRF27 - ACT 1:10 000 210169.584132 (GDA/MGA 692607.6073969) This site is a
small low density artefact scatter extending along approximately 50m of fire trail on
a short spur crest. It is likely that the site extends into adjacent spur crest
deposits.
Figure 7:

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Heritage Items

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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European Heritage
There are no previously recorded European historic sites within the study area.
Unrecorded historic sites and features that may occur within the Williamsdale area
include:
nineteenth-century structures such as farm dwellings, outbuildings and
selectors and timber-getters huts, which may survive as archaeological
deposits and are most likely to survive on less developed rural properties
traces of agricultural processing or extractive sites such as dairies and quarries
access routes such as bridle paths and stock routes
old fence lines (such as post and rail fencing) along road easement boundaries
and farm boundaries.
Within the nearby area, the Royalla Shearing Shed is listed in the ACT Heritage
Register. The shearing shed has also been identified in Sites of Significance in the
ACT Volume 4, Woden, Tuggeranong and Associated Areas as having local
historical significance, as it provides a good example of the ingenuity of bush
carpentry
This sheering shed is immediately adjacent to the highway on the western side and
near the main entry to the Royalla rural residential estate. it is approximately 500m
from the proposed subtransmission lines.
Reedy Creek Gorge (Block 65 Tennent) includes remnants of a hut built in 1881
identified as having cultural heritage. This locality is on the western side of the
Murrumbidgee River and is therefore outside the study area.

2.1.6 Land Use


The land uses within the southern sector include grazing, agricultural uses and
associated rural dwellings.
The land uses within the central sector include grazing and agricultural uses, rural
residential dwellings. Adjacent to the line route is nature park including Rob Roy
Range.
The land uses in the northern sector are grazing and other agricultural use and
rural residential dwellings. The line is adjacent nature reserves.

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2.1.7 Landscape and Views


The landscape of the central sector is generally cleared agricultural land, crossed by
Guises Creek and several other small intermittent creeks and gullies.
Views to the proposed lines from the Monaro Highway are generally limited due to
the distance between the lines and the road. The densely vegetated background of
the Rob Roy Range has high visual absorption capacity which will enable the poles
to readily blend into the background.

2.2 Description of the Region Surrounding the Project Site


The Williamsdale to Theodore subtransmission line route runs south to north along
the foothills and basal slopes of Rob Roy Range and at its northern end passes
between Callaghan Hill and that range. The line route crosses several drainage
lines and creeks including Guises Creek.
The region surrounding the study area comprises an undulating landscape
incorporating the slopes of the Rob Roy Range, the Murrumbidgee River valley and
Guises Creek valley. (Figure 8 refers)
The predominant underlying geology of the study area is the middle Silurian
Colinton Volcanics which comprise tuff, dacite, shale, sandstone and limestone
lenses. The Rob Roy Range is composed of Tuggeranong Granite which is a pink
granite of Silurian/Devonian age.
Where native vegetation is present in areas surrounding the project site, this
consists predominantly of open forest dominated by E. macrorhyncha and E. rossii,
with a native shrub understorey and groundcover. Because of clearing for firewood
production during the early development of Canberra, the majority of the forest
trees are relatively young but there are some trees which would predate European
settlement. There are also some limited areas of remnant Yellow Box Red Gum
grassy woodland or scattered old remnant woodland trees which are regenerating
naturally within introduced pasture.
The predominant land use in the immediate vicinity of the subtransmission line
route is agricultural land including cattle and sheep grazing. The corridor between
the Monaro Highway and the nature reserves to the west contain eight (8)
dwellings.

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Figure 8:

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Surrounding Region

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

32

2.3 Current Land Use Policy and Lease Conditions of the Site
2.3.1 National Capital Plan
The object of the NCP is "to ensure that Canberra and the Territory are planned and
developed in accordance with their national significance".
The National Approach Route (the Monaro Highway) includes land within 200m of
the centre line of the road. Special Requirements under the NCP apply to such
land. Development adjacent to Approach Routes must be of a type and quality
complementary to the role and status of the city. The proposed route as described
in this report is greater than 200m from the Monaro Highway.
Design policies of the NCP are concerned with achieving awareness of the
significance of the approach route by the following:
marking the boundary of the ACT
establishing a clear and identifiable route from the boundary to the symbolic
centre of the city
progressively formalising the design character along approach routes
enhancing views to recognisable and popular images of the National Capital
ensuring that the structure, detailing and signage is consistent.
A high voltage transmission line is defined under the NCP as a Public Utility, which
falls within the broader land use definition of Administrative and Utility Services.
A Public Utility as defined by the NCP means the use of land for the following utility
undertakings:
a) headwork and network undertakings for the provision of sewerage and
drainage services or the reticulation of water, electricity, or gas except for
gas manufacture and storage;
b) communication facilities, including Australia post facilities, Telecom facilities,
television/radio broadcasting facilities and air navigation communications
facilities;
c) municipal uses, including street cleaning depots, public toilets, parks and
garden depots, works depots and associated uses.
The proposed transmission line route crosses two Land use Polices under the NCP,
being Rural and Hills Ridges and Buffers. Public Utility is permissible within both
Rural and Hills Ridges and Buffers Land Use Policy areas.
National Capital Open Space System
The importance of the natural setting of the National Capital has been recognised
by the creation and formal adoption of the concept of the National Capital Open
Space System (NCOSS). This system includes the distant mountains and bushlands
to the west of the Murrumbidgee River near the proposed subtransmission line
route.

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The National Capital Open Space System (NCOSS) is intended to protect the
nationally significant open space framework, visual backdrop and landscape setting
for the National Capital.
The route is outside the historic landscape significance and heritage values of the
Lanyon Bowl Area.
The route does traverse areas identified as Hills, Ridges and Buffers under the
National Capital Plan. The NCP states that hills and ridges are intended for multiple
uses appropriate to the location and character of each area. Their continued use
for recreation, tourism and appropriate urban services must be in a manner
consistent with maintenance of their environmental qualities.
The NCP requires that Hills, ridges and buffer spaces remain substantially
undeveloped in order to protect the symbolic role and Australian landscape
character of the hills and ridges.
The range of uses permitted in the Hills, Ridges and Buffer Spaces part of the
National Capital Open Space System include Public Utility
Figure 9:

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Extract from National Capital Plan

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

34

2.3.2 EPBC Act 1999


The project will be referred under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and
Bio-diversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, 1999 due to the potential to impact upon
areas of Yellow Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland. Procedures under the EPBC Act
will be initiated and the EPBC assessment undertaken separately to the DA process.

2.3.3 Territory Plan


The Territory Plan provides the policy framework for the administration of planning
of land under the jurisdiction of the Territory. The purpose of the Territory Plan is
to manage land use change and development in a manner consistent with strategic
directions set by the ACT Government, Legislative Assembly and the community. It
must not be inconsistent with the National Capital Plan. The Territory Plan includes
broad principles and policies that guide development, through zones and specific
objectives.
The construction of a 132kV line is defined in the Territory Plan as a Major Utility
Installation, meaning "a distribution reservoir; a major electrical substation; a
major gross pollutant trap; a major pump station; a major service conduit; a power
generation station; a sewerage storm tank; a treatment plant; a tunnel; an urban
lake, pond and/or retardation basin; or a storage dam."
A major service conduit as defined in the Territory Plan means the major bulk water
supply and reticulation mains having a diameter equal to or greater than 675mm,
trunk sewers having a diameter equal to or greater than 750mm, stormwater main
drains having a diameter equal to or greater than 900mm or comprising open
drains or waterways, transmission lines having a voltage greater than 66kV, gas
mains having a diameter greater than 100mm, and major telecommunication cable
ducts having a width equal to or greater than 1000mm, coaxial cables, and optical
fibre cables.
The proposed subtransmission line crosses several zones shown in Figure 10, which
includes land reserved as a Nature Reserve. In the northern part of the route, the
corridor is generally located within a Hills Ridges and Buffers zone. Within the
central and southern sectors, the route lies mostly within the Rural zone.
NUZ2 - Rural Zone
The objectives of the Rural zone are:
a) Conserve the distinctive rural landscape setting of Canberra and maintain its
ecological integrity
b) Conserve sufficient wildlife habitats to adequately protect native plant and
animal species
c) Make provision for the productive and sustainable use of land for agriculture
d) Make provision for other uses which are compatible with the use of the land
for agriculture
e) Ensure that land parcels are appropriate in size for their approved uses
f) Offer leases for time periods which reflect planning intentions for the locality
g) Reinforce a clear definition between urban and rural land

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NUZ3 - Hills Ridges and Buffers Zone


The objectives of the Hills Ridges and Buffer Areas zone are:
a)

Conserve the environmental integrity of the hill system as a visual


backdrop and a unified landscape setting for Canberra

b)

Provide opportunities for appropriate recreational uses

c)

Conserve the significant cultural and natural heritage resources and a


diversity of natural habitats and wildlife corridors

d)

Provide predominantly open buffer spaces for the visual separation of


towns and to provide residents with easy access to hills, ridges and buffer
areas and associated recreation facilities

e)

Provide opportunities for appropriate environmental education and


scientific research activities

The Hills Ridges and Buffers Land zone permits the use of the land for a Major
Utility Installation. The land use policy states that development on the lower and
upper slopes may only be permitted where it does not have a significant visual
impact from roads and other significant vantage points.
No specific policies are identified for the land located within the study area.
The construction of a 132kV subtransmission line within the defined route would be
permissible under both the NCP and Territory Plan, subject to detailed
environmental assessment.

2.3.4 Spatial Plan


The Canberra Spatial Plan is the key strategic planning document for directing and
managing urban growth and change. It sets actions for 30 years and beyond and
outlines a strategic direction to achieve the social, environmental and economic
sustainability of Canberra as part of The Canberra Plan.
The key principles underpinning The Canberra Spatial Plan are to:
maximise safety and perceptions of safety within the community
facilitate a prosperous city
support Canberra's role as the national capital
retain and strengthen the open space network, including the hills, ridges,
natural water courses and gullies
recognise the importance of cultural and natural heritage
create and establish a built form and city layout that minimises resource
consumption, including water and energy use
facilitate the provision of physical, social and cultural infrastructure in a
coordinated and cost effective manner
protect areas of high conservation value from the impact of development
protect and enhance important assets
be a responsible partner in the region.
It is considered the construction of a subtransmission line is directly consistent with
the strategies and principles of the Spatial Plan.
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Figure 10: Territory Plan

APPROXIMATE ROUTE ALIGNMENT ONLY


FOR DETAILS OF ROUTE ALIGNEMENT
REFER FIGURES 13-20 AT END OF REPORT

NUZ2 Rural Zone


NUZ3 Hills Ridges and Buffers Zone
NUZ4 River Corridor Zone
NUZ5 Mountains and Bushland Zone
RZ Residential Zone

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2.3.5 Current Lease Conditions


The proposed subtransmission line passes through seven (7) rural private leasehold
properties which comprise a total of nine blocks. Figure 11 shows the cadastral
boundaries of these blocks and the neighbouring ACT Government Nature Reserves.
The private leasehold land is within the rural district of Tuggeranong. Table 2.1
below identifies the private leasehold block numbers and lease details through
which the transmission line passes. In some cases the same leaseholder owns
multiple blocks.
Most of the leases have transmission line clauses that would make provision for
the proposed subtransmission line.
Under the land Planning and Development ACT 2007, lessee consent is required
before ActewAGL can submit a DA for the project to ACTPLA.
All current private leaseholders have been consulted prior to and during preparation
of this report and had direct involvement in route refinement process. Further
consultation will be held with lessees prior to work being undertaken.
Table 2.1: Land Description and Lease Details
Block through which
route traverses

Rural
District

Lease Details

1653

Tuggeranong

Agriculture, 1 dwelling, up to 8 horses for personal use

1471, 1636 (formerly


1470)

Tuggeranong

Grazing and Agricultural purposes and/or such other


purposes previously approved in writing by the Minister

1644 (part of lease also


comprising 1645)

Tuggeranong

Agriculture, 1 dwelling, up to 8 horses for personal use

116 (part of lease also


comprising 1482, 1483,
1502)

Tuggeranong

Agriculture, 1 dwelling, up to 8 horses for personal use

1623

Tuggeranong

Agriculture, 1 dwelling, up to 8 horses for personal use

1651

Tuggeranong

1633, 1635 (part of lease


also comprising 1414)

Tuggeranong

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Agriculture, 2 dwellings, up to 8 horses for personal use

Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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Figure 11: Land Tenure

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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Chapter 3

Potential Impact
of the Project
on the Environment

This chapter examines and assesses the impact on each sector of the proposed
ActewAGL 132Kv subtransmission line route in terms of the physical, human and
non-human biological environments.

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3.1 Impact on the Physical Environment


This part of the report considers the impact of the subtransmission line on the
physical environment including the geology, drainage network and existing
engineering infrastructure.
The creation of a new subtransmission line between the Williamsdale substation and
the existing ActewAGL network near the Theodore substation will result in some
physical disturbance along the route within the easement.
In general the potential impacts, as outlined in the following sections, include:
use of drilling equipment at each pole site
trucks delivering poles
trucks delivering conductors (wires/lines)
some vegetation clearing along the easement to accommodate the conductors
and poles located approximately 150 160m apart
access for construction vehicles and ongoing access for maintenance vehicles
excavation for each pole (and associated ground disturbance during an
immediately after construction).
To evaluate the impacts of this site disturbance, the following factors have been
considered:
sensitivity of land being accessed
topography and soil conditions
presence of any rare/threatened flora and fauna
possibility of sediment entering waterways and neighbouring Nature Reserve.

3.1.1 Geotechnical Impact


A geotechnical assessment of the proposed route was undertaken by Coffey
Geotechnics (Attachment E refers). The following provides a summary of the
geotechnical factors that may be of potential significance to the proposed
subtransmission line.
Excavation Conditions - The support poles will generally be embedded to a depth of
about 5-6m below the surface and this process involves the boring of large
diameter holes. Extensive rock outcrop is present along most of the three sectors
of the proposed route for the subtransmission line.
An assessment of the weathered rock exposed in outcrop, particularly that exposed
along the southern sector, indicates that at least some of the outcropping rock is of
medium, possibly high strength and that the observed defect spacings, in some
instances, may not be close enough to be advantageous for boring into the in-situ
rock. The strength of the in-situ rock can be expected to increase with depth and

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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therefore boring to a depth of about 4m below surface, particularly in areas


characterised by wide defect spacings, may be difficult.
Difficult ground conditions are not envisaged along the central or northern sector,
although the presence of isolated unconsolidated sediments may need special
consideration in terms of required hole depths and casing.
Drainage Lines - A number of drainage lines traverse the proposed route for the
new subtransmission line. The natural drainage gullies will inevitably impact on the
positioning and spacing of the pole support poles and the potential routes for access
tracks. Support poles will not be placed on steep sided drainage gullies due to the
increased potential for instabilities including soil erosion. The design of the
subtransmission line will enable flexibility for pole locations to be adjusted to avoid
drainage lines and embankments.
Reuse of Site Materials - The excavated material will be used as fill and compacted
around the base of the poles. Observed defect spacings and rock compositions
may, in some instances, preclude some excavated rock from being reused as such
fill as the rock may not break down to suitably sized fragments during extraction,
handling and compaction.

3.1.2 Site Contamination


The proposed transmission line itself does not pose the risk of site contamination
post construction.
During construction there is a risk that the construction vehicles and machinery
may bring contamination onto the site, or may generate unwanted contamination.
Contamination may include:
oil/fuel spills
import of foreign soil
weeds and other foreign plant matter
garbage left by workers.
Mitigation
all waste material generated by workers will be collected, stored and removed
from the site for appropriate disposal
all temporary storage depots onsite shall be located away from water courses
and protected in accordance with EACT requirements
all vehicles will be cleaned before entering the development site
ActewAGL will enter a Land Management Agreement with PCL to ensure
eradication of weeds along the subtransmission line for a period of up to three
(3) years from completion of the construction of work including temporarily
fencing disturbed areas until revegated.
all soil material imported to the site shall be sourced from a recognised inert
supply.

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3.1.3 Stormwater Drainage and Water Quality


Potential Impacts
Construction of the proposed subtransmission line may affect stormwater drainage
and water quality through:
transport of sediments (or other pollutants) from construction sites, work
compounds or vehicle access tracks
carriage of spoil on the tyres of vehicles leaving construction sites and
deposition onto local roads where sediment may be washed into local
watercourses
accidental spills and leaks of fuels, chemicals, herbicides or other pollutants
into nearby watercourses.
Mitigation
The combination of construction methods, proposed pole locations and the
topography and characteristics of soils in the study area is unlikely to produce
conditions that would result in a severe erosion hazard during either the
construction or operational phases of the proposal.
The proposed construction works do not require extensive earthworks or large
areas of earth to be exposed. The management of soil erosion and water quality is
not expected to be problematic.
Appropriate water controls and, if necessary, water retarding structures such as
diversion banks, channels and ponds, would be constructed to reduce the effect of
sediment-laden runoff on adjacent watercourses.
Mitigation measures would include:
Pre-construction measures:

Preparation of a soil and water management sub plan by the


construction contractor which would include identification of all
measures to be implemented during the construction and operational
phases of the proposal.

The need for, design and location of access tracks would be identified
by the construction contractor, and supplementary investigations
would be undertaken with regard to potential environmental impacts of
their construction and maintenance (for example, heritage impacts,
riparian vegetation clearing, fauna impacts, the need for permanent
water-retaining structures and creek crossings).

The principles of the various soil and water management guidelines


identified above would be incorporated into the design, construction
and maintenance of these tracks.

Detailed geotechnical investigations would include sampling of


groundwater to determine the risk to foundations from potentially
saline conditions.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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Construction measures:

Vegetation would not be cleared below a height of 300 millimetres.


Bare earth would only be exposed to form access tracks and for pole
foundations.

Areas disturbed between pole locations would be minimised as far as


practical. All exposed areas would be stabilised (that is, compacted,
sealed or vegetated) as soon as practicable following completion of
works.

Geotextile filter fabric fences would be placed downslope of works


occurring near watercourses on slopes of more than five degrees.

Inspections and maintenance of sedimentation controls would be


undertaken regularly, particularly during and following significant rain
events.

Chemical spill response kits would be accessible at all construction


sites and staff would be trained in their use. These would normally be
available in ActewAGL vehicles on site.

Fuel, oil, chemicals and herbicides would be stored in accordance with


Australian Standard 1940B1993.

Excavated material would be levelled and spread within the easement


prior to rehabilitation. Where this was not possible the material would
be removed from the site and taken to an approved landfill site. Any
temporary stockpiles required would be covered and filter fences
provided downslope.

Concrete mixers and pump trucks would not be washed out on-site,
and excess slurry would be contained in plastic-lined pits or skips for
off-site disposal.

Vehicle movement, vegetation clearance and construction activities are


to be minimised within proximity of watercourses, where practicable.

Operational and maintenance measures:

Vehicles used by inspection crews would keep to the established access


tracks as far as reasonably practicable, to minimise unnecessary soil
and water impacts.

Procedures for handling and use of herbicides contained in the


Australian Standard 1940B:1993 would be adhered to.

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Proposed 132kV Subtransmission Line - Williamsdale to Theodore, ACT

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3.1.4 Traffic and Access


Potential Impact
It is estimated that the average number of hourly truck movements during the
construction phase would vary from 5 to 30, with the higher figure being typical of
traffic visiting the site compound areas established for construction management
and the lower figure typical at the pole locations.
Mitigation
No specific traffic management measures are proposed for traffic or site access
other than those relating to erosion control, contamination, and water quality
control outlined above.

3.2 Impact on the Human Environment


This part of the environmental assessment considers the potential impact on a
range of human environment matters including land use, noise, visual effects,
recreation, community facilities and cultural heritage.

3.2.1 Social Impact


Potential Impacts
The subtransmission lines are considered to have an overall positive social impact
on the residents and business activity in the ACT due to the increased reliability in
electricity supply.
Television and radio interference can occur near overhead transmission lines due to
gap discharges (sparking) between insulators and metal locating brackets. This
interference most commonly occurs during hot, dry and windy weather. A similar
problem can occur in the evenings as dew forms on dust that has deposited on the
line, or on industrial pollution that has collected on the insulators and brackets of
the line. In both instances, the interference generally clears after rainfall. If the
interference continues after rain, the transmission line may be physically faulty and
would need to be inspected (Australian Communications and Media Authority
2005).
Mitigation
The transmission line would be constructed and maintained in accordance with
current industry standards which would reduce the potential for gap discharges to
occur. Therefore, no mitigation is considered necessary.
Notwithstanding this, ActewAGL would investigate any concerns regarding
deteriorating reception of radio or television stations normally received by the
community in the vicinity of the lines. If the new subtransmission lines are shown

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to be the cause, ActewAGL will accept responsibility to modify aerials and restore
reception to the standard enjoyed prior to the erection of the subtransmission lines.
The closest residences to specific pole construction would be notified in advance of
upcoming construction work and measures taken to avoid disturbance as far as
practicable.

3.2.2 Safety and Security Measures


Potential Impacts
The proposed poles are concrete or steel and not easily climbable from the ground.
Climbing bars will be provided for maintenance access but will be at least 3m from
the ground to prevent unauthorised access.
Mitigation
The following measures would be undertaken in accordance with industry standards
to provide safety and security:
warning signage indicating the dangers in climbing support structures
construction methods to eliminate the possibility of support structure failure
appropriate conductor connections to eliminate the possibility of wires
loosening or collapsing.

3.2.3 Air Quality


Potential Impacts
Activities undertaken during the construction and maintenance of the lines have the
potential to generate impacts on local air quality. These include:
dust generated during earthworks
emissions from vehicles during construction and maintenance.
Mitigation
Mitigation measures required are likely to be minimal given the temporary nature of
the potential impact. Measures used to abate impacts on air quality may include:
vehicles leaving the site carrying loads likely to give rise to dust emissions to
be covered
no burning activities to be undertaken
areas disturbed would be minimised to limit the exposure of bare earth and the
emissions of dust during windy conditions.

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3.2.4 Economic Impact


Potential Impacts
Construction of the subtransmission line is budgeted to cost $18.7 million.
Although much of the capital equipment will be imported into the region, local
companies will benefit from expenditure on the project.
The average number of workers during the construction period is expected to range
between 10 and 20, the maximum being between 30 and 50. No new staff will be
employed to specifically maintain the lines although there will be ongoing
expenditure associated with the maintenance.
These impacts are considered to be positive.
Research on the impact of subtransmission lines on property values has been
undertaken for a range of similar projects throughout Australia (specifically refer
Vineyard to Rouse Hill Electricity Upgrade Environmental Assessment 2006 for
TransGrid).
This study attempted to quantify the magnitude of social and environmental
externalities associated with the proposal as part of the economic assessment.
Externalities can be generally regarded as an unintended consequence of an action.
The externalities identified included visual impact, safety, health concerns and
operational noise. The study used estimated changes in property values as a
measure of the value of social and environmental externalities associated with
transmission line developments.
Potential Impacts
The study referred to above indicated that a reduction in property prices would be
expected for properties in close proximity to high voltage transmission line
developments. However, there would be no impact on properties greater than 50m
from the alignment. The literature also indicated that the effect on property values
would diminish over time.
The estimated impact on property values ranged between 0% and 2% for
properties within 50m of the proposal.
Mitigation
Based on the review of similar published studies, one of the most significant causes
of the decline in property values relates to the visual impact of transmission lines.
Effective approaches to mitigate the visual impact of the proposal would, therefore,
assist in minimising property value impacts.

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3.2.5 Electromagnetic Fields


Potential Impacts
Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the
stronger will be the resultant field. An electric field will exist even when there is no
current flowing. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater
the current, the stronger the magnetic field.
The selected route is at least 500m from the nearest house and is outside areas
used frequently for recreation or intensive agricultural activities. This distance
substantially reduces the likelihood of increased exposure to electric and magnetic
fields generated by the subtransmission lines.
An Electromagnetic Field Profiles Study was undertaken by ActewAGL (Attachment
A refers) to provide the magnetic and electric field profiles of the Williamsdale
132kV subtransmission lines.
The results of the study confirmed that the EMF levels will meet the requirements of
the existing National Health Medical Research Council guidelines.

3.2.6 Noise Assessment


Potential Impacts
In the general area noise sources are primarily created by traffic and agricultural
activities.
It is expected that there will be little to no noise impact on nearby residents and
people travelling through the area of the proposed transmission lines.
Operational Noise
The proposed subtransmission lines may produce two types of insignificant noise
which is generally only present in certain weather conditions or within extremely
close proximity to the lines.
Corona noise - Corona noise (or 'electrical noise') is generally only audible under
conditions of high humidity, such as during rain or fog and is a hissing, crackling or
humming sound. In heavy rain the noise would generally be masked by the
background noise of the rain itself.
Aeolian noise - Aeolian noise (or 'wind noise') is caused by regular air fluctuations
across the conductor and is largely eliminated using well established design
practices to modify (or "spoil") the airflow. Aeolian noise is rarely a problem in
practice.
For aeolian noise to occur there would need to be significant wind for the level to be
above 45dB(A) at the easement boundary. Under such conditions, the background
noise (wind through trees, etc.) is highly likely to exceed the noise and mask it.

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Construction Noise
Noise during the construction phase of the proposed transmission lines will
generally be associated with heavy vehicle movements. At different times this may
include tractors, cranes, truck and digging equipment.
The proposed transmission line route traverses a rural environment and is well
separated (by 500m) from the nearest residence. Given this separation there is
likely to be little nuisance to residents, particularly given the temporary nature of
the disturbance.
No vibration impacts are expected because of the anticipated type of plant involved
and the limited amount of excavation work.
Similarly, because of the low volume of earthworks, the small number of truck
movements proposed and the prevailing traffic volumes on surrounding roads, it is
anticipated that construction traffic noise will be minimal.
Mitigation
The potential noise impacts will be mitigated through the following measures:
limiting construction works to the times permitted under the ACT Parks
Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation) Noise Environment
Protection Policy
minimising days of consecutive works in the same locality
implementing physical controls, including locating site access points and roads
as far as possible from dwellings
ensuring reversing alarms on machinery are placed as low to the ground as
possible
ensuring the volume of the alarm is adjusted to a minimum value which can be
heard as a warning by the workers in close proximity of the machine.

3.2.7 Visual Impact


Potential Impacts
A visual impact assessment was undertaken as part of the initial Route Selection
Study and the chosen route was considered to have a limited visual impact.
The assessment was based on the construction of twin 20m concrete poles as
described in Section 1.3 above, and primarily addresses the impact on motorists
travelling in both directions along the Monaro Highway, and from rural dwellings
scattered along the route.
Whilst the use of 30m steel poles is not favoured by ActewAGL at this stage, the
visual impact of their possible use is unlikely to be much different from lower poles
when seen at a distance. The visual impact of metal towers would be considerably
worse than for the proposed 24m poles, but this option has not been considered.

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Figure 12: Visual Assessment

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The methodology used for the assessment included a number of site inspections
and photographic review during March and April 2006, and as a result of route
refinements in March 2007.
Views can be described as:
Short range the foreground view immediately adjacent to the subject and
generally up to 100m in this relatively open location.
Middle range views that have a foreground and also more distant views and
generally 100m 800m in this location.
Long range the view against the horizon, most distant from the subject and
generally 800m and beyond.
The visual impact is graded from Low to High on a subjective basis reflecting the
extent to which images of the 20m transmission poles and lines could readily be
seen from the highway. This in turn reflects distance from the road, local
topography and vegetation.
The route is located a considerable distance (approximately 1km) west of the
Monaro Highway, and close to the Nature Reserve. The distance from the Monaro
Highway means that from the road the transmission line would be primarily in the
long range view, which terminates at the hills on the western side of the valley and
generally does not intrude into the skyline above this western ridge.
Construction will result in some short term impacts on visual quality due to any
clearing and excavation required. However given the distance of the proposed pole
locations from the Monaro Highway and the rural houses along the route, it is
expected that the visual impact will be minimal.
It is acknowledged that the transmission line will have some degree of visual
impact on the landscape, especially from the Monaro Highway and from the houses
in the vicinity of the route.
In the southern sector, the eastern route will be visible from both rural dwellings,
but the western route will not be seen from either venue. Both route options will
be seen for short distances along Angle Crossing Road.
In the central sector, the subtransmission lines will be seen for several rural
dwellings, albeit at a minimum distance of 500m.
The subtransmission lines will not be readily visible from dwellings in the northern
sector.
Mitigation
The means of mitigating the visual impacts of the proposal have largely been
incorporated as part of the design development process which included:
identification of visual impacts as a key concern during the route selection
process

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selection of colour and finish for the infrastructure which would reduce
reflectivity of the conductors
tree retention where possible
compensatory tree planting.

3.2.8 Land Use


Potential Impacts
The proposed subtransmission lines will not result in the withdrawal of any land
within rural leases, but will involve creation of a 45m wide easement across each
lease.
The proposed development will not prevent continuation of the rural activities
including access under power lines on the affected portion of each lease. While the
actual path of the easement will not be fenced off, other than for short term
rehabilitation around poles, and rural grazing activities will continue, there will be
some restrictions on activities within the easement, including:
constructing buildings and structures (such as swimming pools and sale yards)
but not including construction of fences
cable irrigators (of the gun type)
keeping flammable material below an aerial conductor
flying or landing any aircraft, including hang gliders, hot air balloons,
parachutes, model aircraft and kites, within 50m of an aerial line
making changes to the ground level
parking of large vehicles
climbing the poles.
There are no community or recreational facilities adversely affected by the route.
The proposed route generally avoids land in nature reserves although there are
several short sections of the subtransmission lines that span the edge of the
reserve and the northern part of the route traverses the nature reserve for a
distance of approximately 1.5km. It is not possible to avoid the nature reserve in
this part of the route.
The areas within the central part of the route are noted as Nature Reserves on
cadastral plans and the Territory Plan however, are within the leased land and are
considered to have minimal impact underneath the subtransmission lines.
Mitigation
The restrictions on land use are required for the safety of the general public. These
restrictions are not considered significant in the context of the rural area across
which the subtransmission lines are to traverse and the predominant activities that
occur in rural areas.
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3.2.9 Cultural Heritage


Potential Impacts
Based on the available data from the ACT Heritage Unit there are 33 previously
recorded sites of Aboriginal heritage significance that may be affected by the
Williamsdale to Theodore Power Line. Sites include 25 artefact scatters (including a
possible stone arrangement and a potential archaeological deposit) and 8 isolated
finds. There are no previously recorded historic sites within or near vicinity of the
study area.
The most likely Aboriginal site types to occur in the Williamsdale to Theodore study
area are artefact scatters occurring in open contexts, and isolated finds. Areas of
potential Aboriginal archaeological sensitivity within the study area are elevated
well-drained areas adjacent to the unnamed tributaries of the Murrumbidgee River,
Guises Creek and east running tributaries from Rob Roy Range.
The most likely historic sites to occur in the study area include nineteenth-century
dwellings or their remains as archaeological deposits, traces of agricultural
processing or extractive sites, access routes, and old fencelines.
Mitigation
The Heritage Study recommends that:
An archaeological survey of the study area should be undertaken prior to
construction to confirm the location of the previously recorded sites and to
determine if there are any Aboriginal sites, historic sites, or areas of
archaeological potential within the study area.
The survey should be undertaken with representatives from ACT Aboriginal
organisations.
Impact to Aboriginal and historic sites should be avoided where possible.
If impact to the Aboriginal sites recorded in the vicinity of the Power Line route
is anticipated, the visible artefacts should be salvaged or moved in accordance
with a heritage management plan endorsed by the Heritage Council in
consultation with representative Aboriginal organisations.

3.2.10 Bushfire Assessment


Potential Impacts
Impact on Subtransmission Line
The last major bushfire in the vicinity of the subtransmission line route occurred
during the 1985 fire season and burnt out the northern portion of the Rob Roy
Nature Reserve. The 2003 bushfires burnt the central portion of the Gigerline
Nature Reserve and stopped on the western fence line to the leased land holdings.
The subtransmission line will be constructed within an easement having a width of
45m, cleared of trees and maintained to minimise combustible fuel loadings. The

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poles are to be constructed from concrete (or steel), are non-combustible and are
high enough above the ground so that fires occurring within the grassland and
grazed woodland vegetation, beyond the easement corridor, will not generate
sufficient height to directly affect the conductors with flame contact.
The poles and conductors could receive radiant heat from these fire occurrences but
are unlikely to be affected by it.
The northern end of the subtransmission line route is located on the exposed side
of the Callaghan Hill ridgeline, within unmanaged Woodland vegetation.
The likely impact from bushfire, especially fast moving high intensity upslope
burning fire, driven by hot dry winds from the west and south-west, will be high
levels of radiant heat, smoke and potential short term flame contact, depending on
the ground litter loadings at the time of the fire.
The overall risk of bushfire on the transmission lines and their supporting structures
is Low Medium, but it is recommended that a fuel management program be
implemented to reduce the accumulated litter loadings to the west of the easement
corridor.
Bushfire Risk created by Subtransmission line.
The distribution of electricity via high voltage subtransmission lines has the
potential to cause ignition of bushfire fuels either within or adjoining the easement
corridor. Whilst unlikely, ignition sources include:
equipment malfunction broken power line due to wind storm, lightning strike
or mechanical damage [eg. aircraft strike]
arc to ground caused by dense bushfire smoke
human error (eg. faulty installation).
The incidence of these ignition sources is rare, however if one should occur during
prolonged drought conditions when combustible fuels are available, the risk of
ignition is high, necessitating monitoring and rapid response to any
incident/emergency that is likely to cause line failure and therefore the potential for
fire ignition within the bushfire prone vegetation. ActewAGL does not accept legal
responsibility for damage or loss of life associated with fires caused by its assets.
Mitigation
Management of the Bushfire Prone Vegetation - The easement corridor will be
managed by slashing/clearing to maintain separation between tree canopy and the
conductors. Ground litter loadings (grass fuels) will be maintained, by
grazing/slashing, to a maximum height of 200mm during the designated Bushfire
Danger Period (normally 1st October 31st March but may be adjusted depending
on the Fire Danger Index (FDI)). The responsibility for fuel management of the
corridor will rest with ActewAGL, not the lessee.
Access Access to the easement corridor will be along existing farm tracks and
across open paddocks. In some sections it may be necessary to construct short
sections of trails to gain access to the pole location from existing farm tracks.
These new short sections of tracks would be constructed to provide an all-weather

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surface capable of carrying a fully laden Rural Fire Service Tanker with a GVM of 15
tonnes.
Works on Total Fire Ban Days - Contractors will not undertake drilling, cutting,
grinding and welding operations on Total Fire Ban days, unless during an
emergency in which case a fire fighting appliance would be on stand-by.

3.3 Non-Human Biological Environment


The assessment of impacts on the non-human biological environment is based
primarily on existing environmental conditions, although these may change in some
areas by the time the line is constructed, for example due to natural regeneration
of woodland. Such changes may influence the future design and environmental
mitigation measures, necessitating further environmental review at a later stage in
the project.

3.3.1 Impacts on Native Vegetation and Habitat


The majority of the proposed transmission line route is currently used for cattle,
horse or sheep grazing and other agricultural purposes, and is characteristic of
open grassland or woodland.
The vegetation of the study area varies considerably along the proposed route but
is primarily Woodland. The route traverses areas of moderately to substantially
modified Yellow Box/Red Gum woodland and areas of Scribbly Gum/Broad-leaf
Peppermint/Long-leaf Box woodland. In the steeper country at the southern end
the trees are primarily Box and Scribbly Gum. On the undulating areas at the
northern end of the route the trees are Yellow Box/Blakelys Red Gum.
While much of the route has been substantially modified, there are individual trees
and groups of trees and understorey of great antiquity. There are some significant
hollow bearing individuals along the route and one area of very high quality
vegetation consisting of Scribbly Gum with a diverse understorey on Block 1623
District of Tuggeranong with a large number of forbs and woody heath plants.
The understorey along most of the route has been modified by grazing regimes.
For the most part it is significantly modified, with only the hardiest native grasses
surviving, albeit with a good level of ground cover on most sections despite the
long term drought and continuing grazing.
An indicative flora checklist was not prepared for the route, primarily as there will
be minimal impacts as a result of the proposal on the ground storey and mid-storey
vegetation.
Vegetation to be Cleared
Low shrubs and groundcover will be minimally disturbed during the erection of the
power line posts, and stringing of the cables. A number of significant trees will be
removed, from both a landscape and habitat perspective, including large old trees
with habitat hollows. Numerous smaller trees (< 150-200mm DBH) will also be

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removed. In some cases they will have no major landscape or environmental


impact, though in others (especially where strong regeneration is occurring,) will
partially fragment areas of continuous vegetation. n In addition some loss of trees
will occur due to the need to construct access trials where such a trail does not
already exist.
The area of Scribbly Gum woodland with a very high quality understorey on Block
1623 District of Tuggeranong and warrants conservation.
The flora and fauna assessment commenced early in the overall environmental
assessment stage and considered two route options in the southern sector and two
route options in the northern sector. The study recommended that the western
option at the northern end of the route be adopted, due to the high conservation
significance of the Casuarina/Box woodland which is found all along the route of the
eastern option. This recommendation was adopted and this report does not assess
the northern sector eastern option.
The flora & fauna study also recommended that the eastern option at the southern
end of the route be adopted, for very strong environmental reasons. The western
route passes through very high quality woodland and open forest, including very
highly significant old habitat trees, for its entire length and on both the properties
traversed. Subsequent discussions with the lessees of these affected properties
indicated that the eastern option, while having less impact on the natural
environment will have significantly greater impact on the farming and related
activities of the lessees.
This report assesses the western route option in this southern sector.
In addition, there have been some further refinements to the detailed route
alignment since the field work for the flora and fauna studies was undertaken. .

Effects on Threatened or Uncommon Species or Communities


The regionally threatened plant species that were considered as part of the route
assessment were Mauve Burr-daisy (Calotis glandulosa), Austral Toadflax (Thesium
australe), Creeping Hop Bush (Dodonaea procumbens), Button Wrinklewort
(Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides), Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum petilum), Small Purple
Pea (Swainsona recta), Silky Swainson-pea (Swainsona sericea), Hoary Sunray
(Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor) and Ginninderra Peppercress (Lepidium
ginninderrense).

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No plant species listed in schedules of the Commonwealth EP&BC Act 1999 or the
ACT Nature Conservation Act 1980 have been located.
Mitigation
The flora and fauna assessment has recommended a number of mitigating actions
as follows:
A route refinement process undertaken between ActewAGL and individual
lessees has resulted in the reduction of significant tree loss in a number of
locations.
All areas of vehicle and construction disturbance will be returned to natural
ground
Levels and slopes, and any rutting will be rehabilitated.
The standard requirements to minimise or eliminate the potential for erosion
and sedimentation will be applied to all construction works (including the
temporary access routes) and maintained after completion of these works while
vegetation is re-established on the study area.
Areas of stable native vegetation outside of the easement immediately needed
for construction would not be subject to damage caused by construction works,
vehicles or other requirements of construction
All excavations will be checked for trapped wildlife before backfilling, and any
trapped animals relocated within the nearby vegetation.
All waste will be securely stored for removal from the site, and any excess fill
produced will not be disposed of by spreading over stable vegetation.
All materials used and waste generated on site that are liable to produce
leachates will be stored in an appropriate way prior to removal from the site.
Fuels or toxins will be managed to avoid spillage and the effects of spillage.
Rehabilitation of all disturbed areas will be undertaken at the conclusion of the
works and a general weed management program will be implemented until the
site has adequately revegetated.
No introduced grass mixes will be used for revegetation purposes, and
examination of supply of native grass seed of Themeda, Microlaena,
Austrodanthonia and Austrostipa (preferably from within the catchment) will be
investigated for rehabilitation purposes if planting is required.
No bales of straw or hay will be used in the rehabilitation process in areas of
high quality Yellow Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland.
ActewAGL will commit to an offset rehabilitation program will be investigated as
part of the restitution for the damage that will be caused on the power line
route. This restitution will be focused on the rehabilitation of a similar
woodland type within the catchment and be based on a tree replacement ratio
of 10:1 for any trees above 200mm DBH that have to be removed. Details of
this compensatory planting program will require discussion and agreement
between ActewAGL, EACT, individual lessees and the Land Care Group.
These recommendations are incorporated into the mitigation measures of this
report.

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Chapter 4

Summary
and
Conclusions

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4.1 Summary
4.1.1 Physical Environment
The assessment has shown that all sectors of the proposed route will have some
impact on the physical environment, but would not create problems of a magnitude
that could not be either overcome or mitigated in various ways.

4.1.2 Human Environment


As a result of consultations with rural lessees, the proposed subtransmission line
route has been refined from the initial location to minimise impact on the human
environment.
The proposed subtransmission route would be visible from several public vantage
points along the Monaro Highway, and from a few rural dwellings. However, the
relative distance of the subtransmission lines from houses and the Monaro
Highway, the high visual absorption capacity of the vegetated hills to the west as
well as intervening topography and vegetation mean that the overall visual impact
of the proposed subtransmission lines is quite low.
Although a number of heritage resources have been identified within the general
area of the route, none are of such significance or geographic extent to prohibit the
proposed subtransmission line. Minor route deviations and/or mitigation would be
possible to address these issues at the detailed design stage.
The electric and magnetic fields generated by the subtransmission lines are likely to
have negligible effect on the existing electric and magnetic field readings in and
around houses along the route due to the distance between the lines and the
dwellings.

4.1.3 Natural Environment


The route would have some impact on native vegetation and habitat, particularly in
forest areas, necessitating the removal of some trees of ecological and/or landscape
value. However, consultation with rural lessees and EACT has resulted in minimal
tree loss along the route.

4.1.4 Summary of Mitigation Measures


Vegetation & Wildlife
Vegetation would not be cleared below a height of 200 millimetres. Bare earth
would only be exposed to form access tracks, if required, and for pole
foundations.
ActewAGL will commit to an offset rehabilitation program will be investigated as
part of the restitution for the damage that will be caused on the power line
route. This restitution will be focused on the rehabilitation of a similar
woodland type within the catchment and be based on a tree replacement ratio
of 10:1 for any trees above 200mm DBH that have to be removed. Details of

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this compensatory planting program will require discussion and agreement


between ActewAGL, TAMS/PCL, individual lessees and the Land Care Group.
Areas of stable native vegetation outside of the easement immediately needed
for construction would not be subject to damage caused by construction works,
vehicles or other requirements of construction
No introduced grass mixes will be used for revegetation purposes in areas of
identified Yellow Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland, and examination of supply of
native grass seed of Themeda, Microlaena, Austrodanthonia and Austrostipa
(preferably from within the catchment) will be investigated for rehabilitation
purposes if planting is required.
No bales of straw or hay will be used in the rehabilitation process in areas of
identified Yellow Box Red Gum Grassy Woodland.
All excavations will be checked for trapped wildlife before backfilling, and any
trapped animals relocated within the nearby vegetation.
Rehabilitation of all disturbed areas will be undertaken at the conclusion of the
works and a general weed management program will be implemented until the
site has adequately revegetated.
The trunks of all major felled trees will be left on site to provide ground habitat
for fauna species. Where possible trunks of trees will be left standing to
provide nesting hollows provided the height of the trunk does not encroach the
clearance zone distances from the subtransmission line conductors. The
canopy of major trees and the smaller shrubs removed during construction will
be removed from the site. There will be no chipping and dumping of surplus
green waste within the corridor.
Soil & Water
All areas of vehicle and construction disturbance will be returned to natural
ground levels and slopes, and any rutting will be rehabilitated.
The standard requirements to minimise or eliminate the potential for erosion
and sedimentation will be applied to all construction works (including the
temporary access routes) and maintained after completion of these works while
vegetation is re-established on the study area.
Preparation of a soil and water management plan prior to construction.
Excavated material will be levelled and spread within the immediate area of
ground disturbance prior to rehabilitation. Where this is not possible the
material would be removed from the site and taken to an approved landfill site.
Any temporary stockpiles required would be covered and filter fences provided
downslope.
All soil material imported to the site will be sourced from a recognised inert
supply.
Appropriate water controls and, if necessary, water retarding structures such as
diversion banks, channels and ponds, would be constructed to reduce the effect
of sediment-laden runoff on adjacent watercourses.
Areas disturbed between pole locations would be minimised.
All temporary storage will be located away from water courses.

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ActewAGL will enter a Land Management Agreement with EACT to ensure


eradication of weeds along the subtransmission line for a period of up to three
(3) years from completion of the construction of work.
All exposed areas would be stabilised (that is, compacted, sealed or vegetated)
as soon as practicable following completion of works.
Vehicle movement, vegetation clearance and construction activities are to be
minimised within proximity of watercourses, where practicable.
Geotextile filter fabric fences would be placed downslope of works occurring
near watercourses on slopes of more than five degrees.
Vehicles used by inspection crews would keep to the established access tracks
as far as reasonably practicable, to minimise unnecessary soil and water
impacts.
Inspections and maintenance of sedimentation controls would be undertaken
regularly, particularly during and following significant rain events.
Contamination Waste
Chemical spill response kits would be accessible at all construction sites and
staff would be trained in their use. These would normally be available in
ActewAGL vehicles on site.
Fuel, oil, chemicals and herbicides will be managed to avoid spillage and stored
in accordance with Australian Standard 1940B1993.
All materials used and waste generated on site that are liable to produce
leachates will be stored in an appropriate way prior to removal from the site.
All waste will be securely stored for removal from the site, and any excess fill
produced will not be disposed of by spreading over stable vegetation.
Procedures for handling and use of herbicides contained in the Australian
Standard 1940B:1993 would be adhered to.
Noise
Construction works limited to the times permitted under the ACT Parks
Conservation & Lands (Environment & Recreation) Noise Environment
Protection Policy.
Days of consecutive works in the same locality minimised.
Reversing alarms on machinery are placed as low to the ground as possible.
The volume of the alarm is adjusted to a minimum value which can be heard as
a warning by the workers in close proximity of the machine.
Site access points will be located along existing tracks or as far as possible
from dwellings.
The transmission line would be constructed and maintained in accordance with
current industry standards which would reduce the potential for gap discharges
to occur.

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Heritage
An archaeological survey of the study area will be undertaken prior to, or
during the course of, construction to confirm the location of the previously
recorded sites and to determine if there are any Aboriginal sites, historic sites,
or areas of archaeological potential within the study area.
The survey is to be undertaken with representatives ACT Aboriginal
organisations.
Impact to Aboriginal and historic sites will be avoided through adjustments to
pole locations, where possible.
If impact to the Aboriginal sites recorded in the vicinity of the Power Line route
is anticipated, the visible artefacts would be salvaged or moved in accordance
with a heritage management plan endorsed by the Heritage Council in
consultation with representative Aboriginal organisations.
Bushfire
The easement corridor will be managed by slashing/clearing to maintain
separation between tree canopy and the conductors.
Ground litter loadings (grass fuels) will be maintained, by grazing/slashing, to a
maximum height of 100mm during the designated Bushfire Danger Period
(normally 1st October 31st March but may be adjusted depending on the Fire
Danger Index (FDI)).
The Woodland vegetation will be monitored to determine the accumulated fuel
loadings within 100m of the easement corridor.
The proposed maintenance trail will be constructed to provide a surface capable
of carrying a fully laden Rural Fire Service Tanker with a GVM of 15 tonnes.
Contractors will not undertake drilling, cutting, grinding and welding operations
on Total Fire Ban days, unless during an emergency in which case a fire fighting
appliance would be on stand-by.

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4.1.5 Benefits
The proposed new subtransmission line between Williamsdale and Theodore will:
Ensure security and reliability of electricity supply to existing and future
customers.
Resolve the deficiencies of this part of the network and provide the capacity
and security of electricity services that are expected by future customers.
Facilitate cost effective development of all future components of the network.
Establish a major capital works project with direct investment in the ACT
economy, producing increased business confidence and ongoing business
opportunities.
Generate employment opportunities during construction.
In addition, a range of specific sustainability initiatives will be considered in the final
design of the subtransmission lines, including:
Use of endemic species for areas of environmental rehabilitation.
Protection of native habitat consistent with bushfire management requirements.
Protection and reuse of topsoil
Weed management post construction.

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4.2 Conclusions
This report has detailed the proposal for a 15.9km subtransmission line between
the proposed TransGrid substation at Williamsdale and the existing ActewAGL
subtransmission network near Theodore, and identified potential impacts on the
physical, human and natural environments of the possible route options.
The route was selected by ActewAGL as the preferred location following an
extensive review of options and consideration of competing stakeholder concerns.
The proposed route (with options at the southern end) will have a noticeable impact
on the physical environment principally in the form of vegetation that will be
removed within the subtransmission line corridor. The proposed poles and lines will
also be visible from several rural dwellings along the route. However, a number of
mitigating measures (as outlined in this report) have been taken to minimise the
environmental and visual impact.
In addition, Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will be prepared
by the contractor appointed by ActewAGL to undertake the proposed works. The
CEMP will include all mitigation measures of this environmental assessment and
specifically include:
Emergency Response Plan
Stormwater Master Plan
Waste Management Plan
Bushfire Plan
construction equipment storage
materials stockpiling.
ActewAGL will be responsible for ongoing management of the lines, which will
include ensuring that the relevant mitigation measures are maintained and
upgraded as required, including:
environmental monitoring
bushfire fuel management
erosion and sediment control
In summary, there are no substantial social, economic or other environmental
impediments to the development of the subtransmission lines, provided the above
requirements are implemented.
June 2008

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Glossary
Capacity the load for which an electric generating unit, other electrical
equipment or subtransmission line is rated.
Circuit A conductive path over which an electric charge may flow.
Conductor A wire or combination of wires suitable for carrying an electrical
current. Conductors can be insulated or bare. OR Any material that allows
electrons to flow through it.
Corona An electrical discharge at the surface of a conductor caused by the
ionisation of the surrounding atmosphere. It is normally accompanied by light and
audible noise.
Cross arm The horizontal section attached to a pole at which the conductor is
held.
Easement A right given to a third party to use a portion of property for certain
purposes.
Electricity The flow of electrons through a conducting medium.
Electricity Grid - The network of wires or cables that supplies electricity to users.
It is the common, interconnected electricity network of transmission cables located
along the east coast of Australia.
EMF Electric and Magnetic Fields
Frequency In A.C. systems, the rate at which the current changes direction,
expressed as hertz (cycles per second); a measure of the number of complete
cycles of a wave-form per unit of time.
High Voltage An electrical system or cable designed to operated 1000V or
higher.
High Voltage System An electric power system having an A.C. voltage above
1000V.
Insulator A device that is used to electrically isolate a conductor or electrical
device from ground or a different electrical potential. Electrical insulators are often
manufactured from porcelain.
Kilovolt (kV) 1000 volts
Line Refers to the conductor in an overhead or underground distribution or
transmission line.

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MVA Mega Volt Amps


NEMMCO National Electricity Market Management Company; The National
Electricity Market Management Company was established to manage the operation
of the wholesale electricity market and security of the power system.
Power Rate at which energy is released or consumed, expressed in watts.
Substation A facility where the voltage of electricity is transformed, normally
reduced, prior to distribution to customers. Part of the electrical distribution system
where changes in electrical voltage and switching takes place.
Security of supply In general terms, the security of supply is a measure of the
ability of the network to provide backup electricity supply during stated credible
contingency events. A lack of supply security can lead to reduced reliability
performance. Strategies to improve security of supply might include increasing the
level of redundancy built into network components, or providing the ability to back
up electricity supplies by alternative means.
Supply reliability An outcome-based measure of the effectiveness of various
network management and investment strategies in terms of their ability to provide
a continuous electricity supply to customers. Reliable supply is achieved through a
combination of supply security, and sound network maintenance practices.
Transmission Line - Lines mainly made from aluminium and carring direct
electrical current. One of the most commonly used is aluminium-stranded
conductor which has a steel reinforced centre (ASCR) to increase its strength.
Volt (V) A unit of electromotive force. The electrical potential needed to produce
one ampere of current with a resistance of one ohm.

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Figures
NOTE: FIGURES 1-12 ARE WITHIN THE BODY OF THE REPORT

Figure 13: Route Sectors Southern, Central, Northern


Figure 14: Route Detail - Block 1653, Southern Sector
Figure 15: Route Detail Blocks 1470 & 1471, Southern Sector
Figure 16: Route Detail Blocks 1644 & 116, Central Sector
Figure 17: Route Detail Block 1623, Central Sector
Figure 18: Route Detail Block 1651, Central Sector
Figure 19: Route Detail Block 1533, Northern Sector
Figure 20: Route Detail Block 1635, Northern Sector
Figure 21: Vegetation Details Southern Sector
Figure 22: Vegetation Details Central Sector
Figure 23: Vegetation Details Northern Sector

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Attachments
Attachment A:

EMF Profiles Study (ActewAGL)

Attachment B:

Ecological Assessment and Natural Resource


Management (Geoff Butler and Associates)

Attachment C:

Cultural Heritage Assessment (Navin Officer)

Attachment D:

Bushfire Assessment (ABPP)

Attachment E:

Geotechnical Assessment (Coffey Geosciences)

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ATTACHMENT 1
EMF Profiles Study
ActewAGL

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ATTACHMENT 2
Flora & Fauna Report
Geoff Butler & Associates

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ATTACHMENT 3
Cultural Heritage Report
Navin Officer

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ATTACHMENT 4
Bushfire Report
ABPP

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ATTACHMENT 5
Geotechnical Report
Coffey Geotechnics

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