Wind farms will be able to be built within 1km of houses in South Australia, half the minimum distance in Victoria, under changes introduced by outgoing Premier Mike Rann.
The changes to wind turbine regulations will also limit the ability of communities to challenge current and future developments.
Under Victoria’s wind farm laws, turbines must be at least 2km from houses. Similar laws will soon be introduced in NSW.
Mr Rann said his government would limit the ability of communities to appeal against existing or future developments following a recent court decision that upheld an appeal against a wind farm development in South Australia’s southeast because of the visual impact of the turbines.
He said the changes would “stop some of the nonsense that has been occurring (and) delaying tactics”.
“Uncertainty has recently plagued the wind industry, prompted by a court decision to uphold an objection to a new development on ‘visual amenity’ grounds and, of course, the Victorian government’s crackdown on wind investment,” Mr Rann said.
“As more than half of Australia’s wind farm investment in capacity terms is in South Australia, we have a national responsibility to take the lead in reforming policy to respect the legitimate interests of both the industry and local communities.”
Mr Rann said the changes were intended to give greater certainty to investors.
An estimated $1.8 billion in wind farm investment was on hold in the state.
The Baillieu government introduced strict rules for wind farm developments in August after extensive lobbying by rural communities during the 2010 Victorian election campaign.
The O’Farrell government in NSW is expected to follow Victoria in enacting strict legislation to limit the proximity of turbines to houses and country towns.
Waubra Foundation medical director Sarah Laurie said there was extensive evidence that wind turbines created significant health problems up to several kilometres from homes.
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