The people of Nundle and Hanging Rock will need patience while the company behind the proposed wind farm completes an environmental impact statement (EIS) – a process that could “take years”.
Wind Energy Partners’ Jamie Chivers said it would require “thorough field work” to prepare the statement, which is the next step in the planning process.
“We will start to work with specialist consultants who have experience in wind farms and the areas of community and environmental interest that require detailed assessment,” he said.
“We are looking forward to presenting the facts of these studies to the community and request patience so these can be completed thoroughly.”
The company last week lodged its Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) of the Hills of Gold Energy Project with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
The PEA takes a “worst-case approach” to possible visual, noise and biodiversity impacts, and Wind Energy Partners will now receive guidelines on the issues it must address in more detail in its EIS.
Some residents have raised concerns about errors in the PEA, including consultations listed that they say were not done, and the population of Tamworth being put at 200,000.
“I will be discussing these comments with the responsible authors of the PEA and clarify if there have been errors made,” Mr Chivers said.
He said the company and its consultants had done “significantly more community consultation than other infrastructure projects at this early concept stage, which gives us a good idea of the communities areas of interest”.
“We will continue to work with the community as more detailed assessments are undertaken.”