Moyne Shire Council Rubberstamps AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm Noisewash

Rubber_stamp_stand

Moyne Shire Council: a little too quick on the draw.

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The nightmare that is AGL’s Macarthur wind farm began operating in October 2012 – the first 30 fired up then.  All 140 giant 3MW Vestas V112s kicked into gear in about February 2013.

Ever since, the locals have been driven absolutely insane with incessant low-frequency noise and infra-sound.

AGL (aka “Australia’s Greatest Liars”) have been running interference in relation to noise problems from the very start.

The incompetent bunch of goons that they hired to do the acoustic work lost and fudged data and, when challenged about data that went missing, blamed flat batteries more than once.

Macarthur residents hired their own careful, independent acoustic engineers to do proper methodical studies into noise impacts, which included full spectrum testing – something that AGL and its pet acoustic consultants have not done and will never do.  The low-frequency testing done by AGL used the same method discredited by Steve Cooper a while back.

STT has seen the work done by the locals’ acoustic experts and – without a shadow of a doubt – it demonstrates that the noise levels generated do not and will never satisfy the noise conditions of AGL’s planning consent.

Now AGL have managed to get the Moyne Shire Council to rubber-stamp its acoustic white-wash in order to allow it to claim compliance with the noise conditions of its planning consent. But the lawyers for the Council – as well as the outfit charged with reviewing AGL’s noise report – had trouble working out what the “vague” and “unduly complicated … wording of the planning permit” actually meant, so advised that the best way to determine compliance was with a vote on it, according to the Council’s Agenda:

As Maddocks have advised, (Confidential Attachment 6) the noise compliance issue for the Macarthur Wind Farm has been unduly complicated by the wording of the planning permit. For example, the permit wording is so vague it is unclear whether Council is required to make a resolution regarding noise compliance. However in order to be transparent and to act in the most appropriate manner as the responsible authority, Maddocks recommends to Council that a resolution is the best means of addressing the noise compliance issue.

There. Isn’t it so much simpler when sticky situations that might see a wind farm operator called to account are settled on a show of hands. Settled that is, by people who aren’t acoustic experts and don’t, apparently, even know what the terms of the noise conditions they’re meant to be applying mean (their lawyers didn’t). And, instead of being “transparent”, the Council kept the correspondence from its lawyers pointing out that the conditions were “unduly complicated” and “vague” confidential (Attachment 6). So much for open and transparent government.

When it came to the Council meeting AGL didn’t have it all its own way. Former Mayor, Councillor Jim Doukas ripped into AGL and gave his fellow members a right-royal-rocket for their complicity in allowing AGL to operate with impunity.

Moyne councillor slams Macarthur wind farm noise review
The Standard
Anthony Brady
25 September 2014

A MOYNE Shire Councillor has hit out at the operators of the huge Macarthur wind farm, saying they should be “tied to a tree and flogged with a whip”.

In a fiery address to the council’s meeting on Tuesday night, Cr Jim Doukas refused to accept a peer review commissioned by the shire which found company AGL was operating the 140-turbine wind farm within noise guidelines.

“It is the biggest load of garbage I’ve ever read in my life and AGL should be tied to a tree and flogged with a whip,” Cr Doukas said.

He said the noise readings taken by AGL’s consultants were “insignificant” and “outside the guidelines” and questioned how a peer reviewer could find them compliant.

“For anyone who reads this and says this is a fair and honest report is just not right and should be ashamed.  “We as a council should not make the determination on the report here tonight. We haven’t gone out to the public.

“No one in Australia who is involved in the wind energy industry, whether they support it or not, has had the chance to look at this and make comment and I think there are wiser heads out there than ours.

“As for those who are objectors, they are entitled to make comment and address council on the issue.

“If we support this tonight we deny them their right and I don’t think that’s right. We are shoving it down their throats and forgetting about the community and, for me, that’s just not on.”

But Cr Mick Wolfe disagreed with the outburst, saying people had already had a chance to comment.

“It’s time for this to go through. We’ve got our report and it’s been reviewed, the facts are in there,” Cr Wolfe said.

“We’ve heard from others alleging corruption, fraud, failure — you name it.

“Everything that AGL or the testers try to do that’s not in favour of the opponents they slam them with some pretty serious allegations.

“They (the opponents) have had a chance to come to any council meeting and show us their data.

“They are hiding it, they are holding it and not releasing it and I don’t know why. Come forward with it.”

The council agreed with the report’s findings that the wind farm is complying with noise levels, but has called for further monitoring within 12 months.

This follows advice from the peer reviewer that noise emissions can change over time as faults develop within the turbines and parts need replacing.

A spokeswoman for AGL yesterday welcomed the council’s confirmation of the report.

She said AGL had already carried out more than 40,000 hours of noise monitoring at Macarthur which was “well beyond” the level required under the shire’s planning permit.
The Standard

jim doukas

Jim Doukas: AGL should be “tied to a tree and flogged with a whip”.

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Compliant or not, the suffering caused by AGL’s turbines is real; and was documented by STT Champion, Anne Schafer in a community survey.  Here’s a link to the survey. And see our post here.

One of AGL’s numerous victims, STT Champion Annie Gardner wrote this cracking letter to the Editor of The Standard – praising Jim Doukas for doing his job; and slamming the goats that pass for local government representatives for failing to do theirs.

To the Editor,
The affected residents of this district are extremely grateful for the unconditional support given by Councillor Jim Doukas (“Moyne Councillor slams Macarthur wind farm noise review 25.9).

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the remainder of Moyne Shire Council who have been elected with a duty of care to protect the health of ALL residents.

Moyne Shire Council are in receipt of hundreds of health complaints as a result of the acoustic emissions from the turbines at the Macarthur wind farm, but have done NOTHING to protect us from this serious harm to our bodies.

As Councillor Doukas rightly claims, we have been denied our right to comment on the noise peer review. I have requested on several occasions to have a copy of this peer review forwarded to me, but these requests have been constantly denied by a council withholding information.

Councillor Wolfe shows his ignorance when he claims residents have had plenty of time to address council and hand over our noise data. It is not that simple, as any lay person isn’t able to comprehend acoustic data, and I doubt any councillors would be trained in acoustics.

Just prior to the council meeting on Tuesday, when Moyne Shire finally released the peer review report, I requested Council forward to our independent acoustic expert, all documentation relating to the peer review, in order that he may compile a report to immediately present to Council. This report, with additional damning evidence, will prove that the Macarthur Wind Farm is NOT COMPLIANT with government noise guidelines.

I also requested Council defer confirming compliance of the wind farm, until our acoustic expert is able to present his report to the Council. This request was obviously ignored.

In the name of openness and transparency, surely Moyne Council could have waited to read the resident’s acoustic expert report which will surely blow any claim of compliance of the Macarthur wind farm, out of the water.

We ask Moyne Shire, WHERE HAS DEMOCRACY GONE?

ANN and ANDREW GARDNER
PENSHURST,   Victoria

annie-gardner

Annie Gardner: slams AGL’s noisewash.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Have any of Victoria’s wind plants had independent, ‘undoctored’ monitoring of EMF’s conducted to ensure electro magnetic radiation is within Australian emission guidelines? The reason I asked is that we’ve noted that is not the batteries in acoustic equipment Batteries used within proximity of industrial wind facilities that are often inexplicably drained, but also ride-on mowers and car batteries.

    Humans function by electrical impulses and many do not function with wellness, well-being nor good health within proximity to wind facility emissions.

    A shearing shed about 2km’s from the Macarthur wind plant vibrates and shudders from noise emissions, noise echoes non-stop in the rafters. For me it is unbearable. How is anyone able to sleep at any of the homes in proximity to the number at Macarthur is beyond me …140 and they are huge turbines. How may anyone live there and remain healthy? Apart from the few, how long can our elected representatives keep turning a blind eye?

    For sensitised people it’s noise and vibration of tsunamic proportion and inescapable. Measure the noise correctly and this house of cards is squashed.

    Remember that when laws are inadequate to protect people, they are changed to do so. Remember cigarette smoke in cinemas, cars and buildings? Remember riding in the back of the van, no seat beats, no seat even? Remember babies unrestrained in basically a basket on the back seat or held on a lap, no seat belt? Remember being drunk and driving? Remember community anger at seeming loss of rights and government interference?

    We will always remember that our Government bodies betrayed our safety and our health and our sense of security by permitting these noise and other abuses to continue unabated through use of guidelines and monitoring instigated by the Industry itself.

    And we will always remember leaders and politicians like Cr. Doukas who question the status quo and the unacceptability of our situations. Those leaders that fully investigate, use their own good reasoning and actually have the courage to stand up and represent rural Australians with honesty and integrity.

  2. Keith Staff says:

    It would appear that Moyne Shire are like many other Councils – only interested in the fees that get passed over their desks from Wind proponents. They should be spending some of this money on truly independent consultants, reporting on noise compliance, landscape and visual impacts and property devaluation, among many other aspects of proposals.

    Proponents pay large amounts of money to their consultants to produce assessments and reports, stating that “everything is O.K, there will be no problems”! All done in the name of doing anything to gain a planning approval/permit.

    Councils are complicit in falling for this garbage.

  3. Jim Doukas you are a truly great man for standing up for the people you act for. Your integrity is great to see. The bully boy councillors at Pyrenees certainly have no integrity. It is a pity they have not read their own code of conduct when acting for the people that they represent.

    Like at Waubra, AGL is just as fraudulent as Acciona. It appears that Vestas commissioned the noise compliance monitoring plan to test the noise. This is not an independent assessment.

    They’re using L95 which is not a measurement per se, but an arithmetic average. The averaging of windfarm sound arithmetically decreases the results as a dB reading is a logarithmically measured reading of pressure. When readings fluctuate widely, as in the swooshing sound, using the arithmetic average you will always get falsely lower readings than what you would get if the data was averaged using a logarithmic algorithm.

    An example of how erroneous this averaging technique can be seen by looking at the Waubra wind farm. They too used the arithmetic mean of logarithmic measurements and were able to show that the mix of windfarm and background sound was less than the preconstruction background sound at wind farm operating speeds! How is that at all possible?

    In the Macarthur report it is claimed that assessment was done to section 5.3.1 of NZS by doing a subjective assessment for Special Audible Characteristics (SACs) only. The New Zealand Standard NZS6808-1998 section 5.3.1 states at present that there is no simple objective procedure available to quantify SACs and subjective assessment must be supported by objective evidence, which invalidates any assessment of SACs without supporting objective evidence.

    In the Macarthur report it is claimed that the sound emissions are to World Health Organisation standards. This is also not true. WHO is based on the use of Leq to assess sound. This has not been done because L95 has been used. A complaint is made against a sound that is experienced. Anything other than the use of Leq and Lmax as an unfiltered sound pressure, in real time, does not measure the sound pressure experienced and therefore does not address the complaint being made.

    Noel Dean.

  4. Thank god that we have some local goverment members like Jim Doukas in Australia who realy care for their rate payers.

  5. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    The rights of Australian citizens have been pushed aside in order to give succour to industrialists who have no interest in the environment or ‘saving the earth’, who only have one interest – how much money they can accrue.

    This has been achieved by the lazy, lax politicians who sit back and accept whatever they are told when the word ‘Green’ is waved in front of them.
    When are they going to get backbones and stand up for their citizens rights? When are they going to stop this open denial of truth? When are they going to act to ensure the safety of their citizens?

    Thank goodness there are some who do have backbones and are willing to support those they are there to represent. They are few, but the numbers are growing.
    If AGL can continue to operate when they cannot prove without doubt by independent means that they are operating to the planning consent then they should be stopped now. The whole project should be shut down until they can provide independent verifiable proof. Citizens’ health is the responsibility of the governments of this nation, there are regulations and Acts of Parliament that given them the power to do this – WHEN WILL THEY STOP and consider their responsibilities?

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