Wind farm proponents in the North West say new planning assessment guidelines provide certainty for communities and industry.
Planning Minister Pru Goward recently announced changes to the wind farm assessment process, that will see all projects reviewed by the independent Planning Assessment Commission.
Ms Goward said the changes will affect all new and current applications being reviewed by the Department of Planning and Environment.
“Wind farms are relatively new addition to the landscape,” she said.
“I want to make sure, given that there are frequently questions raised by communities [about] their impact on communities, that the community is heard and that the process for approval is open, transparent, independent and known from the beginning,” she said.
The Department of Planning and Environment will also take responsibility for selecting membership of Community Consultative Committees for wind farm projects.
Mitchell Hanlon Consulting is the firm working on the proposal for the Woolbrook Wind Farm.
Senior Planner Jocelyn Ullman has welcomed the changes.
“It helps with making the process more independent, it sets some pretty strict guidelines, and makes the assessment much stronger,” she said.
“Obviously the PAC is an independent process through which the community gets to voice its opinions on the proposal, which in my view is always a good thing.”
The state government says the new process will ensure independence from government.
Ms Ullman said most wind farm proposals are already assessed by the PAC.
“It just adds some transparency and offers some very clear direction to the wind farm developers as well, so they’re aware all proposals will go through to a Planning Assessment Commission,” she said.
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