A change in planning to allow for larger turbines on the Lal Lal Wind Farm will be reverted back to an independent panel following a settlement before the Supreme Court.
The result will see a planning panel asses an alteration to re-size turbines on the WestWind Energy site from 130 metres to 161 metres in height.
Original plans included the construction of 64 turbines between Yendon and Elaine, however, if the amended plans are approved it will be reduced to 60.
The development follows a successful bid from the Lal Lal Environment Protection Association, with officials from the Lal Lal EPA and Planning Minister Richard Wynne confirming the matter had been settled before court.
Prior to the settlement, certain amendments would not have gone before a planning panel.
Lal Lal EPA president John McMahon said he had concerns over the noise that could be generated by larger turbines.
“We will now face a planning panel, where we will be able to present our arguments in detail, in particular regarding the much greater noise which will be generated by the proposed larger turbines and the increased visual impacts due to the need for red flashing aviation lights at night,” Mr McMahon said.
“The Supreme Court proceedings were settled out of court. The planning amendment has been revoked (and) the planning panel is due to start on August 15.”
WestWind Energy commercial operations manager Marla Brauer said stringent measures are placed on noise control.
“We are required under our planning permit to adhere to strict noise controls and we are committed to this,” Ms Brauer said.
“The amendment, if successful, will allow new technology to be installed, resulting in more electricity being generated, more efficiently.”
A spokesperson for the Planning Minister stressed the importance of a timely approval procedure.
“There was never a move to stop consultation – rather, it was about changing the requirements for a full panel when there were minor changes to granted permits,” the spokesperson said.
“The department will work with Planning Panels Victoria towards a streamlined panel process for permit amendments because we want to reduce the time it takes for decisions to be made. We need to make sure the public is involved in the process while reducing delays and costs for the wind industry.”
The spokesperson said investigations would be made into exempting some amendments from the panel process and if any legislative changes were required.
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