NSW set to hinder wind energy with onerous planning regulations

The NSW Draft planning regulations on wind farms was released on Friday December 23: on the very last working day before Christmas. You don't need to be a cynic to understand the Barrie O'Farrell conservative Government wants to bury news coverage of these draft planning regulations which impose strict limits on wind farm development which are very similar in scope to the draconian Victorian wind farm planning regultions.

"The new wind guidelines introduced today place more rigourous requirements on wind projects than on any other project development in the state." said Lindsay Soutar, national coordinator of the community 100% Renewable campaign. "While coal and coal seam gas get the red carpet, wind power just gets more red tape."

The draft planning regulations were criticised by Max Phillips, a Marrickville Greens councilor, who said on twitter: "So in NSW u can build a gas well within 200m of a home, or 5-8m of a future home, but a wind turbine should be 2km away. Go figure #nswpol"

Lindsay Soutar accused the O'Farrell Government of listening to a fear campaign by powerful disgruntled landholders rather than the overwhelming community sentiment. "NSW has a choice to make: does it want clean, safe renewable energy which is free and will never run out. Or does it want to keep on digging up coal, and burning dirty gas forever? In poll after poll the community overwhelming says it wants renewable energy."

"Today's announcement by O'Farrell is just another indication that the NSW government is refusing to take seriously the huge opportunity that renewable energy presents." Soputar said, "Barry O'Farrell is out of step with community expectations on this one"

Friends of the Earth was also critical of the draft planning regulations while welcoming confirmation of the NSW 20% renewables target by 2020. Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator, Cam Walker said "While the guidelines are not as punitive as in Victoria, if this draft plan becomes law, there will be a number of worrying precedents which can be expected to negatively impact on renewable energy in the state".

"As is the case in Victoria, the guidelines use a 2km trigger when it comes to residents having the ability to oppose a project. What is the basis for selecting 2km? The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the government is following the wish list of anti-wind campaigners through adopting an arbitrary set-back model." said Cam Walker.

"On face value, the NSW proposal seems better than Victoria. Where residents within 2km oppose a turbine, the matter goes to a Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). This is a better policy because it avoids the moral hazard of an outright veto, which can lead to a form of extortion given there can not be fair negotiations where one party - the objector - holds all the power."

Cam walker said the devil would be in the detail in the Gateway Process, "... until the NSW Gateway Process is tested, we will not be able to say whether the policy will set back the wind industry as the guidelines in Victoria clearly are doing. The final make up of people on the JRPP will greatly influence the outcome in terms of granting a Site Certificate, and may be the 'Devil in the detail' that destroys the ability of the wind sector to develop in NSW."

According to Brigid Glanville, ABC state political reporter for NSW, "There are 17 wind farm applications in, 13 haven't been put on exhibition. Those 13 applicants will be effected." she said on twitter.

Cam walker outlined the many benefits that wind energy brings to regional areas including jobs, business opportunities, income for local Councils and land owners, and the production of greenhouse friendly energy. "The government has clearly attempted to respond to a noisy minority which is deeply opposed to wind energy. We hope that the final policy does not work against the interests of the majority of people in NSW who do support renewable energy" he said. "Regional areas of NSW will enjoy significant economic benefit if the wind industry is allowed to flourish."

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge accused the O'Farrell government of looking to destroy this state's wind energy industry and pandering to climate denialists without any scientific evidence. "By pandering to the climate denialists and wind witch doctors, the NSW government is squandering the chance for the creation of four thousand new green jobs."

"The guidelines released today are delivering for Shooters and Fishers MPs Robert Borsak and Robert Brown and their mates in the anti-wind, anti-science climate denialists movement." said David Shoebridge, "Today we appear to be seeing the results of the grubby deal that saw the Shooters and Fishers party vote with the O'Farrell government to slash the police death and disability scheme.

"The government has a choice to secure the state's energy supply for the future. Blind to public opinion and proper scientific evidence Premier Barry O'Farrell has chosen coal seam gas over the cheaper, cleaner wind alternative," Mr Shoebridge said.

You can read the draft planning guidelines for Wind Farms. Public comments on the draft guidelines are being sought up to 14 March 2012. You can email submissions to: innovation@planning.nsw.gov.au or snail mail:
Policy, Planning Systems and Reform,
Department of Planning and Infrastructure,
GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001;




burning water is the future its called BROWNS GAS as people discover the way to make it work they dissappear, patents also contain our solution and belong to oil corparations, we need to release any thing that will bring the best outcome for the earth, as we are the caretakers.

"So in NSW u can build a gas well within 200m of a home, or 5-8m of a future home, but a wind turbine should be 2km away. Go figure #nswpol" well I did go figure and I think the NSW Government has made the right decision on this one, peoples health is important.

Dr Nina Pierpont, a New York paediatrician, said she was convinced that vibration and noise emitted by wind turbines can produce a range of symptoms which she has named "Wind Turbine Syndrome" or WTS.
During her research, which she funded herself, she examined the health of people living near wind farms in the US, the UK, Italy, Ireland and Canada. She is now recommending that wind turbines should not be built any closer than 2,000 metres (2,187 yards) to housing.

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Sorry takver you are wrong again

Are any of those peer reviewed scientific studies?

The ABC television current affairs program Four Corners investigated opposition to Wind Farms in a program - Against the Wind - that went to air on July 26, 2011.

A recent review of the scientific literature by Loren D Knopper and Christopher A Ollson, published in Environmental Health 2011 on 14 September 2011 (doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-78) describes what they found regarding the health impacts of wind turbines.

"In peer reviewed studies, wind turbine annoyance has been statistically associated with wind turbine noise, but found to be more strongly related to visual impact, attitude to wind turbines and sensitivity to noise. To date, no peer reviewed articles demonstrate a direct causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects. If anything, reported health effects are likely attributed to a number of environmental stressors that result in an annoyed/stressed state in a segment of the population. In the popular literature, self-reported health outcomes are related to distance from turbines and the claim is made that infrasound is the causative factor for the reported effects, even though sound pressure levels are not measured."

Now maybe if the planning regulations were not focussed specifically on noise from wind farms but were for any development producing ongoing noise levels, then perhaps the regulations would make more sense. That would allow more strict development of open pit coal mines, freeways and other developments. Strict but fair. But because these regulations are aimed specifically at wind farm development, there are other agendas at play here.

Medical Director of Waubra Foundation Advises Senate Inquiry of Gag Clauses, which Hide Health Problems Associated with Wind Turbines

Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, Dr Sarah Laurie, has highlighted the industry practice of wind farm operators enforcing confidentiality clauses, which specifically prevent affected residents from publicly speaking about their health problems, in her submission to the current Senate Inquiry into rural wind farms.

Wind farm operators insert confidentiality clauses into contracts with landholders accepting turbines, and with vendors of adjacent properties purchased by the operators because they have been rendered uninhabitable.

“I have direct knowledge of this practice of gag clauses at multiple sites in Australia, and Canada, and I am told by my colleagues the practice is widespread in North America” said Dr Laurie. “I am also aware of clauses in some contracts in Australia which specifically prohibit the person who signs such a contract from making any claim, objection or complaint to any government agency”.
“The combined effect of gag clauses and the prohibition on complaining has created a situation where relevant health and noise regulatory authorities are not getting an accurate picture of the suffering of rural residents , including vulnerable members of families hosting turbines. The suffering continues without any effective public scrutiny” she said.

The Waubra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation committed to facilitating the independent study of health effects of wind turbines. “I have now interviewed over 60 people in rural Australia whose health has been directly affected by wind turbines, with a range of problems including chronic severe sleep deprivation, elevated blood pressure, tinnitus, ear pressure and balance problems, and severe anxiety and depression. These are serious medical problems; there is no doubt living or working near turbines is dangerous for some people’s health”.

“Some have left their family home to try to regain their health, others are unable to leave, as their main asset is their house and land, which often become unsaleable” said Dr Laurie. “Rural families who cannot leave their homes are trapped, and their plight is being denied or ignored” concluded Dr Laurie. “The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent acoustic and medical research before more turbines are constructed close to people's homes and workplaces. Others in Australia joining the global call for independent research include the SA AMA and the CFMEU”.

Contact: Dr Sarah Laurie: 0439 865 914

Medical Journal of Australia "Perspectives" for November 2011 pp 495:

The recent rise of complaints appears to be closely associated with advocacy from anti-wind-farm interest groups, such as the Waubra Foundation. Future research will need to test for temporal associations between this Foundation's publicity and its movement through rural communities, and case reports of health effects.

The Waubra Foundation's chairman is Peter Mitchell, who uranium and coal seam gas and, at least until February 2011, was also chairman of the Science and Economics Committee of the Australian Landscape Guardians.

Like the United Kingdom-based Coastal Guardians, the Landscape Guardians have links to those who oppose wind farms but are silent on "guarding" Australian rural landscapes from mining.6 The Waubra Foundation, the Landscape Guardians and the Mitchell family's investment company Lowell Capital all have the same post office box, yet Sarah Laurie from the Foundation wrote recently "The Waubra Foundation is not a front for the Landscape Guardians . . . Peter Mitchell . . . has kindly made his mailbox available for the use of the Foundation, as we have extremely limited financial resources".

If every thing is as you say it is why would there be a confidentiality (Gag) clauses? something smells fishy

We have a lot of sick people around the world from these wind turbines and you want peer review? when you get the people who peer review the IPCC reports and say man made climate change is rubbish you ignore it, make up your mind takver or do you only use peer review when it suits your agenda?
Industrial wind power is only as clean and renewable as the traditional power source it supplements.

The other down side of wind turbines is death of wild life.
"Now, we have the turbines and the noise. Absolutely no wildlife. I used to go out in the morning, tend to my dogs, let my dogs run, and I'd hear the geese go over."

"And ugh! Now there's no deer, no geese, no wild turkeys. Nothing."

Wind Turbines Kill Bats Without Impact

Despite their energy-saving efforts, wind farms have a bad rap for killing birds. And now there may be a bigger problem: The noise from turbines could be killing livestock as well—or, at least, playing a part in their deaths.

Wind turbines destroy ecosystems, kill birds and bats, and disturb wild animals.

Please don't look at this if you have feelings for Birds it made me cry uncontrollably the needless suffering of wildlife must stop now

Wind Farms and Animals

One example is a study by the Alameda County Community Development Agency which reported that 10,000 annual bird deaths occur in the Altamont Pass wind turbines in northern California. Deaths include 75 to 100 golden eagles, 380 burrowing owls, 300 red-tailed hawks, and 333 American kestrels(falcons) killed annually by Altamont turbines.

I took me three hours to put this together because I kept breaking down with the thought of what Pain and suffering these Animals go through

Takver you must help stop these turbines and the suffering of the poor Animals surely you can't be that cold.

Jimbo I cried too when I saw that poor bird hit by the turbine blade, the wind farms are killing wild life. The greens stop logging if it hurts wild life so the greens should stop wind farms too and show they are not two faced!

This planning change will further Climate Change and compromise the food security of our Nation, however I am not surprised as the Liberals' are in coalition with the CSG and Coal industry, that is former Deputy PM John Anderson is part of their promotional campaign.

What I want to know is why is a Wind Turbine needing a 2km setback when CSG and Coal mining can be 'in your back yard' please explain this to my satisfaction!

IF (and it is a big IF) wind turbines sent neighbour's crazy with industrial noise (even though proven Science says NOT) then I speculate that humanity is in for an overdue epidemic of industrial noise symptoms and disease, given the populations' now living in Cities World wide - of course it is a myth!

Finally - yes declaration of interest my Station is under a development licence for a Wind Farm, but I want to let the reader know that if it is created here, there will be about a 1% impact on my land. Compare that to CSG and Coal - start to become alarmed about food security as we crash and burn in all that light and air conditioning, QED.

Choose Libor or Laberal.

The wind turbine naysayers are often quick to quote anecdotal statements or non statistically significant "studies" about health, ultrasound and impact of wildlife. This is the same tactic used by anti climate change campaigners.

The truth is, as with climate change, we have to listen to the findings of solid peer reviewed science. This is saying "no noticable impact" on health by ultrasound, and the impact on wildlife is miniscule in comparison with the myriad of other impacts we have... land clearing, urbanisation, roads (a HUGE killer of wildlife), pest species, domestic species etc etc etc.

There WILL be cases where wind farms should not be built, due to potential impact on wildlife or for amenity, but please stop the perpetuation of bad, incorrect knowledge by quoting and requoting dodgy sources.

The National Peak Science body our CSIRO has released a research paper confirming that negative community perceptions of Wind Farms are misleading, this will be something that must be shown clearly to the O'Farrell Government as it sets out to cripple Renewable Energy in NSW and promote Coal and Coal Seam Gas.

Exploring community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia: a snapshot

CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship has undertaken a preliminary study to consider community acceptance of wind farms from a variety of stakeholder perspectives. 13 January 2012

Despite the prevalence of popular media articles, there is minimal academic examination of this situation. This report provides new research that analyses community acceptance of Australian wind farms from a variety of stakeholder perspectives.

The preliminary study produced four key findings:

1. There is strong community support for the development of wind farms.
2. Many of the benefits can be shared or communicated in ways that would enhance community support for the development of wind farms in a region.
3. Existing regulatory approaches provide an appropriate framework for negotiating wind farm developments, but there is scope for improving outcomes.
4. The emerging notion of a ‘Social Licence to Operate’ provides a useful framework for wind farm developers to engage local communities in ways that could enhance transparency and local support.

CSIRO http://www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Energy-Transformed-...

Stakeholder views of wind farms

As noted above, this research consulted a range of stakeholders on their perceptions of wind farms, and identified both a diversity and similarity of views:

• Wind company representatives were supportive of wind power, but many businesses were vulnerable to community acceptance issues.
• Local government representatives held mixed views on wind farms. Some welcomed the resulting regional development, while others observed the significant angst caused by wind farm proposals.
• Turbine hosts, all farmers in this sample, supported wind farms and generally did not hold concerns about visual, noise or other negative impacts.
• Community members publicly opposing local wind farms spoke as self-appointed representatives for others nursing grievances with wind farms. Most were hobby farmers with small acreages, former professionals, and/or members of Landscape Guardian groups.
• Community members publicly supporting their local wind farm were motivated by the ‘climate friendly’ nature of wind farms, as opposed to that generated from fossil fuels. They appreciated regional development, increased local identity, potential employment and financial opportunities arising from wind farm developments.