Victoria’s Surroundings Safety Authority to take cost of state’s wind farm noise complaints


The brand new laws are being launched after residents in South Gippsland gained a significant authorized battle towards the 52-turbine Bald Hills Wind Farm in August final yr.

In that case, the wind farm had launched a authorized problem towards the validity of a report produced by the South Gippsland Shire that discovered noise from the mission caused a nuisance for residents.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Courtroom upheld the South Gippsland Shire’s report, ruling there was no error within the council’s findings.

No less than two recent authorized challenges towards separate wind farms are below manner in Victoria.

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A state authorities spokeswoman mentioned the brand new legal guidelines would simplify the regulation of wind farms in Victoria and supply certainty for buyers and native communities.

“Wind farms are important for Victoria’s future,” she mentioned.

“Wind farms play an vital position in attaining the Victorian renewable energy targets whereas creating jobs and driving down carbon emissions.”

South Gippsland Shire chief government Kerryn Ellis mentioned the brand new legal guidelines meant councils could be spared costly authorized disputes about wind farm noise.

The Bald Hills Wind Farm in Tarwin Lower, South Gippsland.

The Bald Hills Wind Farm in Tarwin Decrease, South Gippsland.Credit score:Benjamin Preiss

“The council helps the change as it’ll present clear regulation tips and a constant course of each for the trade and communities proper throughout Victoria,” she mentioned.

Ms Ellis mentioned councils had beforehand been required to research noise complaints below the Public Well being and Wellbeing Act, which she argued was not created to take care of large-scale operations, together with wind farms.

“The expertise has been that it’s a fancy, convoluted course of that’s very pricey for all events.”

The sound degree necessities for wind farms will stay the identical below the brand new regime.

However the lawyer who represented residents within the Bald Hills case, Dominica Tannock, mentioned the brand new legal guidelines would make it tougher for neighbours to launch challenges towards wind farms based mostly on noise.

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She argues that native councils had been obligated to behave when residents complained about noise, however this feature would not be open to neighbours of wind farms.

Ms Tannock mentioned councils also needs to take accountability for managing noise created by initiatives inside their very own boundaries.

“They’re encouraging them to be constructed of their space,” Ms Tannock mentioned.

Nevertheless, she agreed that councils didn’t at present have the experience to measure noise correctly, and they need to have entry to EPA specialists.

Ms Tannock mentioned she supported renewable vitality, however wind farms needed to be inbuilt acceptable locations.

“This isn’t a struggle over renewable vitality or a struggle over wind farms.”

She is representing residents in Hawkesdale in south-western Victoria who’re difficult plans to increase a allow for a wind farm.

In a separate case, she can be representing residents who’re mounting a recent authorized problem of noise compliance at Bald Hills Wind Farm.

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A Bald Hills Wind Farm spokeswoman didn’t touch upon the brand new problem.

However she mentioned the corporate welcomed the federal government’s choice to switch wind noise regulation from native councils to the EPA.

“Wind farm noise evaluation is a fancy space that wants a scientifically rigorous and standardised method,” she mentioned.

The spokeswoman confirmed the wind farm had engaged acoustic specialists to conduct “in depth noise monitoring” to reveal it was complying with planning allow necessities.

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