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NSW Planning Department has vindicated the Upper Lachlan Council’s long-time stance that wind farm turbines should be located at least two kilometres from residences.
The Department’s new proposals for wind farm developments has placed emphasis on the two kilometre set back.
The draft for the new development rules require that an additional “upfront” assessment requirement will apply if the developer seeks to place turbines within two kilometres of a host or non-host residence.
The developer must, if the new rules are adopted, obtain written consent from any landowner with a residence within two kilometres of a turbine.
If this consent is obtained, the proposal may proceed to the next stage of the development assessment process.
However, if a resident refuses to “sign up”, the developer will still have a card up his sleeve.
The developer can still apply for a Site Compatibility Certificate.
This would focus on noise and visual amenity issues, including predicted levels of noise (including low frequency noise); how the turbine will look from each non-host residence; impact on landscape values; blade glint and shadow flicker.
The Site Compatibility Certificate will be the responsibility of the Planning Department, which will forward its recommendation to the relevant Joint Regional Planning Committee which will have the determination of the development application.
If the Site Compatibility Certificate is not issued, then the development cannot proceed as proposed.
Upper Lachlan Shire General Manager Mr. John Bell commented that it was pleasing for Council to have its Development Control Plan for wind farms recognised.
It has long been a major irritant for Council that its Control Plan has been over-ridden by the planners and Courts and broadly ignored by wind farm developers, particularly in relation to “set back” requirements.
The new draft wind farm guidelines have been prepared by the Department “to ensure effective consultation with local communities and to deliver improved consistency, transparency and rigour in the planning assessment process.”
The proposed guidelines are extensive, and are obtainable on the Department’s web site: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/onexhibit ion under “draft policies and plans.”
They will also be delivered to all rural and regional councils in NSW.
Comments and submissions on the draft plans can be made up to March 14, by mail to Policy and Planning Systems, Department of Planning, GPO Box 39, Sydney 2001, or Emailed to Innovation@planning.now.gov.au.
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