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Buffer zone for south-west cities, beauty spots  

Credit:  Alex Sinnott, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 30 August 2011 ~~

A five-kilometre buffer zone blocking wind turbine construction will be enforced by the state government around regional cities such as Warrnambool, Portland and Hamilton.

Land along the Great Ocean Road, several regional centres as well as national and state parks including Tower Hill, have been declared “no-go areas” as part of the Coalition’s pre-election commitment to rein in zealous developers.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the sweeping reforms would hand more planning power back to people directly affected by development.

He said the government had formalised the set-back policy that stops the construction of wind turbines within two kilometres of houses without the consent of the owner of the home.

“It is important that while wind energy develops, it does not do so to the detriment of rural and regional Victorians,” Mr Guy said.

“The Coalition government committed to giving local communities a key role in deciding where wind farms will go and restoring fairness and certainty to the planning process for wind farms.”

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said the new provisions were a “confusing schemozzle” and would deter wind farm developers from making further investment in the south-west.

“I think the state government are effectively killing off the wind farm industry in this state,” Mr Tee said.

“They have claimed that these measures allow for more choice yet we have this capricious approach that results in no-go zones.”

More than a dozen regional cities are included in the five-kilometre buffer zone list including Warrnambool, Hamilton, Portland, Colac, Ballarat, Bendigo and Horsham.

Areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Bellarine Peninsula, Great Ocean Road region and the Macedon Ranges have also been declared “no-go areas” in the legislation drawn up the state government.

Source:  Alex Sinnott, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 30 August 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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