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Wind farm noise overhaul

COUNCILS will no longer face sole responsibility for wind farm noise compliance.
The State Government now requires all new wind farm permit applications to pass through mandated, independent noise assessment audits to ensure wind farms comply with acoustic standards.
South Gippsland Shire Council is embroiled in legal action with neighbours of Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower, after the neighbours claimed council did not adequately investigate their concerns about noise produced by the wind farm.
Under the change, noise assessments will also be required at the planning permit application and post construction stages to provide greater certainty of the accuracy of assessments and ensure wind farms comply with noise standards.
Noise assessments will be required to be accompanied by a statutory environmental audit prepared in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1970 at the planning permit application and post-construction stages. Audits must be prepared under an independent environmental auditor appointed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The news was welcomed by council CEO Tim Tamlin, who has lobbied the State Government for change. He said, “I think it is a step in the right direction because it provides more monitoring and governance around the process and now the EPA will be involved.”
The Local Government Inspectorate is investigating the leaking of an email from Mr Tamlin to councillors to a neighbour, John Zakula, who was taking legal action against council. That action was in relation to neighbours’ concerns about council’s investigation of their noise complaints. The email explained delays in council appointing a noise consultant, at the order of the Supreme Court. The inspectorate is seeking to determine who leaked the email to Mr Zakula. Cr Andrew McEwen continues to be investigated in relation to that.
In the Supreme Court recently, Justice Andrew Keogh heard opposing arguments and reserved his decision.
The defence questioned the validity of the notice sent to Mr Zakula to ask him to appear before the inspectorate for questioning.
This matter will need to be finalised before a judge can decide on whether to compel Mr Zakula to produce the information requested of him by the inspectorate. A decision is expected later this month.
Cr McEwen is furious the inspectorate revealed he was being investigated.
“I find it an abuse of the process that this was even brought out into the open and I will follow this up,” he said.
He said he did not give the email to Mr Zakula.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26047

Posted by on Oct 9 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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