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Wind Farm Burden Lifted From Councils

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The proposed Coopers Gap wind farm ... a photomontage from Niagara Road looking west, taken from AGL's Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad

July 15, 2016

The State Government has released a planning code for wind farms, a move that could speed up approvals for AGL’s proposed venture at Coopers Gap

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said on Friday the new code – which will come into effect next week – would deliver “a consistent whole-of-government approach to assessing wind farm proposals”.

As expected, the new code shifts responsibility for assessing projects from local Councils to the State Government.

“Most local government planning schemes do not cover wind farms, and many Councils don’t have the specific technical expertise to assess such applications,” Ms Trad said.

“We have brought together national and international best practice, and expert advice, to lift the burden off councils and provide a consistent state-wide approach to assessing wind farm proposals through the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).

“The code sets out clear assessment requirements for the design, construction and operation of new or expanded wind farm proposals and is a big step forward in reaching our important target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“This code will provide much needed certainty to individuals and communities, as well as industry looking to invest in renewable energy production in Queensland in the future.”

Ms Trad said community feedback had “directly informed” the final code.

“This code includes strict guidelines to address community concerns about health and safety issues, including acoustic management,” Ms Trad said.

“It also ensures that development does not unreasonably impact on the character, scenic amenity and landscape values of a location.”

The code includes guidelines relating to aviation safety, electromagnetic interference, shadow flicker, flora and fauna, traffic safety, stormwater management, construction management and acoustic amenity.

The code does not apply to smaller turbines that are used for a domestic or rural use.

The wind farm state code, and its supporting planning guideline, will come into effect next Friday.

  • The wind farm code and guidelines are available on the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website

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