The NSW Government has released its draft Planning Guidelines for Wind Farms for extended public exhibition.
Taking a swipe at the last state government, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard said the draft guidelines strike a balance between providing opportunities for investment in renewable energy and ensuring local communities are protected from the impacts of wind farm developments.
“NSW Labor left local communities in the dark in relation to renewable energy, ignoring the concerns of rural property owners living nearby wind farm developments,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This Government recognises the need to ensure renewable energy has a bright future in this state and that includes ensuring the voice of local communities is heard.
“A central feature of the draft Guidelines is a rigorous gateway assessment for wind farms where proposed turbines are located within 2km of existing residences.
“The Guidelines introduce an innovative assessment approach which ensures upfront consultation between wind farm developers and local communities.
“For proposals within two kilometres of residences where landowner consent has not been obtained, the Joint Regional Planning Panel will determine whether the development application can proceed as proposed.
“Community consultation is pivotal to anything this Government does in the planning area.
“The Government recognises community concerns about visual amenity and noise and is proposing the most rigorous noise controls for wind farms in Australia.
“They will address issues such as low frequency noise, tonality and excessive amplitude modulation.
“The Government is also proposing to strengthen auditing and compliance measures, giving neighbours the ability to seek an independent noise review if a wind farm is built.
“The Environmental Protection Authority will investigate complaints and ensure compliance with approved standards.
“As these guidelines are in draft form only, the intent is that residents and applicants can continue to have their say in the future modelling of the NSW approach to wind farms.”
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has placed the Guidelines on public exhibition and they will be available until March 14.
The draft guidelines can be accessed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/onexhibition.
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