A case of place: Solastalgia comes before the court
journal contributionposted on 14.12.2016, 02:05 authored by Kennedy, Amanda
Abstract: In 2005, Professor Glenn Albrecht wrote in this journal about the concept of 'solastalgia', a phenomenon he had witnessed and researched in the Upper Hunter Valley in Australia following the rapid expansion of open-cut coal mining. A combination of the concepts of solace and desolation, Albrecht's neologism attempted to capture the distress and suffering experienced by people when their place of residence was threatened by significant environmental transformation. In 2013, the concept came before the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, in the case of Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Inc v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Warkworth Mining Limited  NSWLEC 48. In this case, the Court overturned a government decision to approve an application to expand the Mount Thorley-Warkworth coal mine. The Court held that the expansion of the mine would have had significant negative impacts upon the community and the environment, which would not have been outweighed by the projected economic benefits to be gained. The decision was heralded as a triumph of David over Goliath; indeed, it has been rare for major development approvals of this kind to be subsequently overturned by the Court.