On behalf of Stop Industrial Wind Turbines I would like to comment on your lead article “Councils left ‘powerless’ on wind farms” (November 23).
State Governments overrule local governments when they consider it necessary. There are no changes in Minister Rau’s Development Plan Amendment for wind factory assessment which alters this.
However, the DPA does significantly change the rules for assessing wind energy projects. In particular, the previous objectives in councils’ development plans required that visual impact caused by the turbines and associated infrastructure be ‘minimised’. This is no longer the case. Wind factories are now categorised as ‘essential infrastructure that will often need to be sited in visually prominent locations’.
This means that it will be more difficult for councils to refuse these projects on grounds of visual amenity (not that the Regional Council of Goyder has ever seen fit to do so in the past; not even when the beautiful Razorback Range and Mt Bryan were, and remain, threatened by wind turbine development).
SA’s Environment Protection Agency’s noise guidelines remain the same as do provisions for the protection of the natural environment. These are also important elements in the assessment process for wind energy projects.
The DPA changes wind factory developments from Category 3 to Category 2 developments. This means that councils’ Development Assessment Panels are no longer “required” to accept submissions from the public, unless they are adjoining neighbours to a proposed project. But councils can accept and hear from members of the public, if they choose to do so. It is up to the council.
Councils can allow themselves to be intimidated or they can fight on behalf of their constituents and the natural environment.
If in the end the state takes over the approval process for the wind industry, then so be it. Because, what difference will it make, if councils approve all new wind factory applications anyway?
SIWT’s message to people opposing further turbines in the Mid North is to keep sending in objections to your council and development assessment panel. Also, send a submission objecting to Minister Rau’s changes to the rules to the Department of Planning and Local Government before December 13 and request to be heard.
Stop Industrial Wind Turbines
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