Residents Revolt: South Australia’s Wind Farm Planning Rules ‘Rotten to the Core’

Allan Holmes (State Planning Commission) and Mary Morris.

 

Like Germany, rural South Australia was quickly carpeted with a multitude of these things; like Germany its long-suffering rural residents have had enough noise torment to last a lifetime.

In SA (as elsewhere) the so-called ‘noise guidelines’ and planning ‘rules’ were rigged in favour of the wind industry, from the get go. And to the extent that they did limit opportunities to spear these things into farmer’s backyards, they were quickly changed by an earlier, wind and solar obsessed, Labor government under Mike Rann.

After Labor was voted out in March 2018, South Australians could have been forgiven for believing that the incoming Liberal government, under Steven Marshall, would provide them with some respite from their power pricing and supply calamity. No such luck.

Nor has the Liberal government provided rural residents with any serious prospect of injecting the state’s wind farm noise and planning ‘rules’ with any degree of common sense or human decency.

The same wind industry rent seekers and lobbyists that started the wind industry in South Australia, have had just as much success with Liberal MPs and the relevant Ministers, as they did with Labor’s Jay Weatherill and his cronies. Weatherill’s Labor predecessor, Mike Rann set the tone early: How a Band of Criminals, Shysters & Chancers Conjured Up the Wind Industry in Australia

Directed by the Liberal government to try and quell a brewing revolt, SA’s State Planning Commission is presently paying lip service to the notion that the government might just revise the rules; rules which might start protecting rural residents from practically incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

The only hope of there being any significant and beneficial alteration to SA’s wind farm noise and planning ‘rules’ is down to one very clever and very determined farmer, Mary Morris.

Mary, who had a background as a science teacher, currently heads up the Hansborough and Districts Residents Group; and is the kind of character you always want to have on your side.

Here’s a couple of articles detailing Mary’s battle for a better deal for South Australia’s rural residents.

Wind farms in spotlight at planning forum
Eudunda Community News
11 December 2019

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.
Eudunda Community News

Proposed state wind farm planning code discussed in Eudunda
Barossa Herald
Michelle O’Rielly
13 December 2019

Proposed state wind farm conditions outlined in Eudunda this month has left a core group feeling like they have been “thrown under a bus”, despite some positive changes.

The release of the planning code, which follows the recently approved Twin Creek development near Kapunda, was shared with more than 30 people attending the State Planning Commission Renewable Energy forum.

The gathering resulted in the Hansborough and District Residents Group revealing their worries over a number of the code’s recommendations. A top concern centred on rural communities unhappy about “inadequate” set distances between dwellings and wind farms.

Vocal to the cause, Mary Morris said the forum, held on December 4 at Eudunda Bowling Club, was the result of a planning commission briefing for community leaders in Adelaide on September 19.

“I challenged the commission members over where they were getting their information from to inform their policy of 1.2km setbacks between house and wind farms,” she said.

During the forum it was highlighted how townspeople are allowed 2km distances, plus 10 metres for every metre increase in turbine height.

“Areas ‘zoned areas for wind farms’ are still basically everywhere rural except for a few selected areas like Barossa Preservation District,” Mrs Morris said.

“Basically little change from (former SA planning Minister) John Rau’s wind farm rules from 2011/12.”

Furthermore, with the change in government, the group was led to believe the Liberals were “going to stick up for rural” constituents.

The group had sought to increase “setback” distances between rural dwellings and wind farms, plus provide ‘no go zones’ for wind farms and reinstate community appeal rights for wind farms. “Instead, the Liberal Government and particularly Liberal MPs in country seats have thrown their rural constituents under a bus,” Mrs Morris said. However, she said the proposed new rules are “a little better” than the current, and offer a few substantial changes to protect communities from wind farms impacts sited to close.

She recognised positive proposed changes including the EPA to providedirection during development assessment of wind farms, all wind farms to be publicly notified and anyone can submit a representation regarding the proposal, and a thirdparty appeal rights for wind farm proposals in restricted areas.

Allan Holmes, former chief executive of the Department of Environment and former member of the EPA Board represented the planning commission.

Mr Holmes told the room that the ‘discussion paper’ and ‘planning and design code’ are government’s policies, not the planning commission’s policies. “…so if communities want the policies to be changed, communities need to convince the government to amend them, not the planning commission,” she said.
Barossa Herald

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Interesting. The Social Democrats in Germany are proposing to pay hush money to those forced to live near wind turbines. I guess they have finally figured out that they are ruining peoples lives.

    http://www.beaufortobserver.net/Blog-3931.112112-16052.114136-Germany-to-offer-hush-money-to-those-forced-to-live-close-to-wind-farms.html

  2. Chevelon Butte wind farm spans two counties in Arizona at Chevelon Canyon. Planning commission in Coconino County has 10 commissioners, they all voted to approve. It is where most of the project will be sited on almost 50 square miles. 8 turbines and the GEN-TIE to the grid is in Navajo County. Their planning commission voted 3-2 to approve. They seem to have commissioners that are more balanced at least. Their Board of Supervisors also had chance to review and vote. They decided to approve with one board member not voting. He was the very one that “represents” that area most affected. Why did he not vote? Arizona state law mandates minutes of the meetings in 3 days. I am still waiting on that from Coconino. It’s been over a month. Because of waiting so I could read how that all went, then form responses, the 15 day period to appeal passed. It never went to their board of supervisors. Of course no one mentioned appeal period to me or anyone. So watch out for those tricks.

    • Do you have the wind rose study for the site (due from the Company)? It is worth having even if it is stamped approved. The rose helps calculate if or who will experience the worst health effects. If anyone lives within 5-12 miles of the project there will be infrasound problems. Within 2-3 miles there will be significant EMF.

  3. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    Mary does a fantastic job fighting these things and those who want to destroy the peace of our rural and regional areas. She takes to meetings both public and arranged by appointment with those who should be listening, well researched FACTS, which is something those assessing and promoting these projects are not accustomed to – they have always worked on the premise that those areas they are invading are populated by uneducated nincompoops – unworthy of any consideration.
    Mary stands there and shows them what they are frightened of seeing – the TRUTH.
    These people seem to operate on the assumption we are fools that believe they are concerned for ours and others welfare and will act on their ‘facts’ as presented – when they say we hear what you are saying – which only means what is being said to them goes in one ear and out the other as there is nothing in between to soak up the TRUTH rendering them incapable of doing anything other say say they ‘hear’. This ultimately means they are going to do nothing because they have been instructed to only follow the desires of the industry and its hollow simpleton followers, who see what they want to see, see what has been chosen to show them, to fill their pockets with money and a sense of power which they do not have because they have handed power to the ‘Renewable’ industry barons.
    All of this powered forward by people and International Bodies and other countries, who know nothing of Australia, they want to dominate us and demand we do what they are not doing.
    They cannot see that protecting the environment is more than changing how electricity/energy is produced. Its about ensuring people are able to live in a clean environment and be able to afford to look after their own needs.
    Of course we all want to live in a world with clean air and enough food to feed everyone, but rushing into making changes is rushing in to ensuring mistakes are made and those they are making now are destined to stay with us for MANY MANY years. These changes will ensure the world is a worse place, a place where First World countries will become unable to look after themselves and certainly not able to save the masses from Third World countries.
    There will be no ‘repenting at leisure’ if this madness does not stop.
    Mary and those like you THANK YOU for your efforts they do not go un-noticed and do not go un-appreciated.

  4. Peter Pronczak says:

    Exactly what part of the ‘environment’ is the EPA protecting: Those with their hands in taxpayer pockets?

    Definitive answers should be supplied, such as what are the overestimated end of life (including early blade separation issues & Bob Brown’s NIMBY) disposal plans of toxic materials banned in a multitude of other countries?
    The attributes of wind turbines are not so different to large aircraft propellers (but enormously bigger), where even the slightest malfunction is subjected to intense investigation.

    When was ‘world’s best practice’ last mentioned, particularly as they have taken and continue to threaten many lives?

    Perhaps South Australia is suffering some effect from the British Maralinga bomb testing.

  5. The problem with the Code and the EPA, and the planning commission, is that they all don’t understand the WORD “NO”, we don’t want any more Turbines. At the meeting some questions were asked, that should have been answered, but were not, as the person (Mr Holmes) could not or did not want to answer them. I think at these meetings there should be a Government representative with the ability to answer all questions, and the best way would be with yes or no. I found the meeting as much use as all the others have for the last ten years. No use at all.

  6. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  7. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

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