The State Planning Commission hosted a public forum in Eudunda on December 4 for members of the community interested in understanding more about the proposed changes to the renewable energy policies in the new planning system.
The session provided an opportunity to understand how existing renewable energy policies are being updated in the Planning and Design Code to keep pace with new and more efficient energy infrastructure.
Thirty three members of the community attended to hear from Mr Allan Holmes of the State Planning Commission and support staff from The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
Mr Holmes, who has extensive background and experience in environmental and conservation matters, spoke about how the Code allows for creative and innovative responses to energy demand and supply while addressing potential impacts on the community and environment.
“The Eudunda public forum provided an invaluable opportunity to hear the views of local residents about renewable energy infrastructure, particularly wind farms.
“It also provided an opportunity to explain how the new Code will restrict energy facility development in environmentally and culturally significant areas and provide increased setback setbacks for both wind and solar farms,” Mr Holmes said.
“Another significant improvement proposed is the public notification of all wind farms and new policy to address the decommissioning and rehabilitation of renewable energy sites”.
The forum was held in Eudunda following a request from Ms Mary Morris of the Hansborough and Districts Residents Group to provide locals with an opportunity to discuss the changes directly with the Commission.
“There seems to be a disconnect between the advice received by the Planning Commission from the EPA and what residents are reporting at ground zero” said Ms Morris.
“There was robust discussion at the meeting and residents living up to 9.2 kilometres from the Waterloo Wind Farm who experience sleep disturbance made their views and experience very clear.
“If the Government is serious about protecting rural communities from adverse wind farm noise impacts, the policy must be revised to increase the setbacks.
“I look forward to further genuine engagement with the Planning Commission members and EPA as we work through the noise impact issues raised at last week’s meeting.”
Residents unable to make the forum can still have a say on the State Planning Commission’s Renewable Energy Discussion Paper which remains on consultation until February 28, 2020.
In addition Phase 3 of the draft Planning and Design Code, which applies to the urban areas of the State, is also on consultation until February 28, 2020 and can be viewed at the SA Planning Portal.
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