National 31.8.2016 10:14 am

Consultant fights tooth and nail against petrol station on Boksburg wetland

Image courtesy Freerangestock.com

Image courtesy Freerangestock.com

Environmental, sustainability and geopolitical consultant Nicole Barlow vows to fight against the proposed construction of a petrol station on a Boksburg wetland.

Plans are afoot to put up a fresh fight to stop the apparent construction of a petrol station on a wetland in Libradene, Boksburg, in Gauteng, reports the Boksburg Advertiser.

Years ago, Sasol abandoned its plans to build on this piece of land, following a fierce battle between environmental, sustainability and geopolitical consultant Nicole Barlow and developer Petro-Props.

Following the decision back in 2006 from Sasol to stop pursuing its intention of developing the station, Petro-Props served notice on Barlow to stop making public all the problems surrounding the development on the wetland.

Barlow has written to Bob Dudley, group chief executive of BP Global, informing him of her ambitious plans to stop BP’s move at all costs.

But the high court at the time dismissed Petro-Props’s application with costs.

Construction of the garage was also halted at the time by the government after a battle that raged for more than a year.

In January of that year, Sasol also announced it was no longer participating in the development of a filling station undertaken by a site developer, Petro Props (Pty) Limited, on Rondebult Road.

Sasol said it was not satisfied that the validity of the authorisation for construction of a filling station on the Libradene site has been determined, and that the required approvals and authorisations for the development of the site have been granted.

“Additional information regarding the licensing of the site has become available. As a responsible corporate citizen that is sensitive to public and environmental concerns, Sasol has considered the latest information. Obviously, the establishment of a filling station must have all the required authorisations and consents that such a development requires,” said Sasol in a statement published in 2006.

‘As you are no doubt aware, wetlands are the second most diverse ecosystems in the world, second only to the Amazon rainforests.’

“Historically, Sasol agreed to lease the particular site from the developer after a study of traffic patterns along Rondebult Road indicated that it would be an attractive business opportunity.

“All the required authorisations and approvals for the proposed development, together with the rights to develop a service station on the site, had to be obtained by the developer along with an environmental authorisation (Record of Decision) for the development.

“The Record of Decision supplied to Sasol by the developer at the time appeared to have been approved by the Gauteng department of agriculture, conservation and environment.”

Now, following this intense battle, it seems Barlow is again embroiled in another battle, this time apparently with British Petroleum (BP) to prevent the building of a petrol station on the same wetland.

Barlow has written to Bob Dudley, group chief executive of BP Global, informing him of her ambitious plans to stop BP’s move at all costs.

“I spent 10 years and over half a million Rand stopping Sasol from building a petrol station on this very site, and I shall have no problem spending another 10 years and another half a million rand in legal fees stopping BP from occupying this site as a fuel filling station,” said Barlow.

“I feel it is of great importance to inform you of my intention to run a global social media and print media campaign informing people that British Petroleum is involved in building a fuel filling station on a wetland in Boksburg.

“As you are no doubt aware, wetlands are the second most diverse ecosystems in the world, second only to the Amazon rainforests.

“Now this very wetland is again under threat from the construction of a fuel filling station, only this time instead of a Sasol petrol station, it’s going to be one of yours,” said Barlow.

Barlow has begun a Facebook page and petition calling for people’s support in highlighting BP’s conduct in South Africa.

She further said she has spent a massive portion of her life fighting to save this wetland and “I shall not rest until I succeed”.

Barlow told the Boksburg Advertiser that she found out about BP’s intentions three weeks ago when concerned residents notified her.

“I’m meeting with representative from BP South Africa over this issue and will communicate the outcomes,” said Barlow.

BP said in a statement that it was aware of Barlow’s objection to the development of a petrol station.

BP, however, said it neither owned nor was developing this site, nor would they operate it.

The company has entered into an agreement with the site owner to supply fuels to the site once the fully permitted and legally approved construction is complete – this construction is being undertaken by the owner.

BP said it was looking forward to an amicable solution between all stakeholders involved.

Caxton News Service

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