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Shire demands wind farm clarity  

Credit:  Tina Liptai, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 31 March 2011 ~~

Moyne Shire councillors have called on the state government do more to resolve issues surrounding wind energy facilities in the shire.

Six councillors voted unanimously to inform Planning Minister Matthew Guy new Amendment VC78, which has made local councils the responsible authority for new wind farm permit applications, was an “unsatisfactory” first step on the path to implementing reform.

Under the former Labor government projects with a capacity of 30 megawatts or greater were assessed by the planning minister.

Councillors want further action from the state government on the reforms and have invited Mr Guy to visit The Sisters, site of a controversial wind farm proposal, and explain what affect the VC78 amendment would have on the local community.

At their meeting this week councillors voted to write to Mr Guy outlining further measures the shire believes are needed to successfully implement reform to wind energy proposals.

Councillor Colin Ryan was not at the meeting.

Councillors believe the amendment does not comply with the new government’s pre-election policy to require a two-kilometre buffer between turbines and homes and therefore does not meet the community’s expectations surrounding the reforms.

Councillors are also concerned no detail has been provided by the state government about the resource and administrative costs councils will incur as a result of being the responsible authority for all wind farm proposals.

Cr James Purcell he believed the state government has been “very weak” in its support for the community and added this action by council was not a move against wind farms.

“I’m not against wind energy at all,” he said.

“We do need to have alternate energy.”

When implementing Amendment VC78, earlier this month Mr Guy said it was part of the first step in restoring fairness and certainty to the planning system in respect of wind farms.

As part of the amendment, permit applicants must submit a plan showing all dwellings within two kilometres of a proposed tower.

No mention, however, was made of a two-kilometre buffer between turbines and homes put forward by the Coalition before last November’s election.

Earlier this month, a spokeswoman for the planning minister said the state government was committed to the setback and would introduce it in a further amendment later this year, along with a shared payment system for certain landholders.

Source:  Tina Liptai, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 31 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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