The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a wind farm after finding there’s no evidence wind farms have adverse effects on health and wellbeing.
Infigen Energy’s proposal for a 16-turbine wind farm near Seymour, north of Melbourne, was rejected by the Mitchell Shire Council, which said there were widespread health concerns.
The council said it had received more than 100 objections to the project in the Trawool Valley, which also raised concerns about disruption to the landscape.
Infigen appealed the decision to the VCAT, and the Cherry Tree Wind Farm is now the first to be given the go-ahead under the Victorian Government’s new planning laws for wind farms which were introduced in 2011.
The Tribunal used information from the New South Wales and the Victorian health departments that shows there’s no scientific evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects or support claims that inaudible sound can have psychological effects.
However, it ruled that all wind turbines will need to be a minimum two kilometres from the nearest house, which it declared was based only on the precautionary principle
The outcome was in line with expectations after VCAT gave the project a favourable interim planning decision in April this year.
At the time it found that the impacts on visual amenity and local flora were acceptable, the wind farm would not give rise to problems relating to bushfire, salinity, erosion or aviation, and also that it would comply with the prescribed noise standard.
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