Sick of the noise

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Sick of the noise

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has been accused of failing to care for neighbours suffering duress as a result of the Bald Hills Wind Farm.

Tarwin Lower resident John Zakula said the 52 turbines create excessive noise that breach occupational health legislation.

He said the Victorian planning process was equally to blame in “a gross failure of duty of care for the people in the shire of South Gippsland”.

Mr Zakula said the wind farm “produces horrendous industrial noise” that was impacting neighbours’ health and causing sleep deprivation.

“The close location of this facility has compromised and jeopardised the health and safety to me, my family and my workers due to the conditions produces by this facility which operates 24 hours every day over 90 per cent of the time,” he said.

Mr Zakula said council was responsible for the health and safety of its constituents.

“The South Gippsland Shire has conducted itself in a negligent and irresponsible manner and demonstrated a gross failure of duty of care in permitting this facility to be located in close proximity to neigbouring dwellings,” he said.

“Simply, there is a gross failure in the methodology used in the approval of wind energy facilities.”

Council’s director of development services Bryan Sword said the Minister for Planning was responsible for ensuring the wind farm complied with noise restrictions.

“The Minister for Planning has endorsed the 12 month post construction noise monitoring plan,” Mr Sword said.

“The Bald Hills Wind Farm is undertaking independent noise monitoring as required by the post construction noise monitoring plan.

“The Bald Hills Wind Farm responds to complaints in accordance with the endorsed noise complaint procedure which may include localised noise monitoring.”

Mr Sword said council was not aware of any breaches to the permit, however final assessment would be undertaken by the Minister for Planning at the completion of the 12 month post construction noise monitoring plan.

He said council had not received complaints about noise from neighbours and said complaints were typically given to the wind farm company.

Wind farm general manager Matthew Croome said the company had received several noise complaints. 

“Each month the complaints are investigated and a report prepared. A copy of the report is provided to the person who raised the complaint as well as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning,” he said.

“Investigations and reports completed to date indicate the wind farm is compliant with the permit.”

Mr Croome said when a noise complaint is received, noise data from the relevant monitoring unit was analysed by an expert acoustic consultant to determine whether or not Bald Hills Wind Farm is operating within the noise limits set out in the permit.

“Complainants are kept informed about the investigations in accordance with the process set out in the complaint procedure endorsed by the minister under the permit,” he said.

Mr Croome said in accordance with the permit, Bald Hills Wind Farm has deployed noise monitoring equipment at many locations around the wind farm. 

“Noise monitoring will continue until June 2016. A report will then be submitted to the minister in accordance with the permit requirements,” he said.

Bald Hills Wind Farm supplies copies of reports investigating noise complaints to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

A department spokesperson did not comment on the noise issues currently affecting residents.

“The operator is currently undertaking noise testing for the facility, which will continue for 12 months minimum,” the spokesperson said.
“At the end of the testing period the operator is required to provide a report that summarises the noise monitoring.”

Mr Zakula called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to explain what methodology was used when he reduced the separation distance between a house and a turbine from two kilometres to one kilometre, in March this year.

That change reduced the household veto for a proposed wind turbine development from two kilometres to one kilometre from a dwelling, as part of changes to wind farm planning.

At the time, Mr Andrews said the plans struck the right balance between protecting property and supporting jobs in emerging industries.

Decisions on new wind farm planning applications rest with the Victorian Minister for Planning. Councils retain responsibility for enforcement of wind energy facilities for new and existing planning permits.

Residents who are concerned about noise generated by turbines should lodge their concern with Bald Hills Wind Farm by calling 1800 027 689 or emailing [email protected].

 Standing out: the Bald Hills Wind Farm has been the subject of numerous noise complaints.

Standing out: the Bald Hills Wind Farm has been the subject of numerous noise complaints.

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Posted by on Dec 1 2015. Filed under Featured. 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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