The Central Local Government Region has responded to the State Government’s proposed changes to wind farm development rules, saying they have not fully addressed the concerns of communities.
The South Australian Government said the Statewide Wind Farms Development Plan Amendment proposed in October last year would unlock $1.8 billion in investment funds, but local councils are questioning its impact on communities.
The Central Local Government Region (CLGR) of South Australia has provided feedback on the wind farm changes that could affect its 15 member councils, including the Mid and Upper North, Flinders Ranges, Clare, Barossa, Yorke Peninsula, and Adelaide Plains areas.
CEO of the CLGR, Anita Crisp, said their submission addressed potential issues relating to governance, environment, social and economic sectors.
Ms Crisp said environmental concerns included threat to already limited areas of native vegetation, and the potential impact on scenic landscapes.
“We’re proposing the Government go back and work with councils to set up wind farm exclusion zones across areas of high scenic landscape, including the Barossa and Clare Valley, Flinders Ranges, high amenity coastal areas.”
Other questions posed by CLGR related to the loss of third party appeal rights and the potential impact on a wide range of agricultural operations, including interference to satellite navigation devices.
Ms Crisp said they asked ‘how a potential wind farm might interact with the ability of an agricultural enterprise to carry on, for example, aerial spraying and aerial bating, the loss of high productivity agricultural land’.
Councils wanted to see more recognition of wind farm research done in other areas before the amendments were finalised.
Ms Crisp said it would be an ‘opportunity lost’ to ignore research in the draft and national guidelines, the new legislation and planning provisions in Victoria, and work that has been done in New Zealand around issues such as noise standards.
“There is a really good opportunity for this State to learn from experiences both interstate and also overseas.
“We’ve got a real opportunity to look at developing best practice in a whole range of areas from turbine and wind farm design, to community engagement.”
As requested by the CLGR, public meetings to discuss wind farms issues in the region will be held in Peterborough and Port Wakefield next week.
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