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Victoria wind farm rules allow towns to limit noise to protect quality of life

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines Add comments

New wind farm permitting rules adopted in the Australian state of Victoria place permitting authority in the hands of local councils, rather than the state Minister for Planning.  During  the recent campaign, the newly elected state government had called for  2km setbacks from non-consenting landowners, and shared payment plans for all residents within 1km.  While these provisions are not included in the new rules, local authorities are granted authority to assess “high amenity noise impacts,” which could lead to noise limits lower than those currently required by the law (of course, lower noise limits lead to larger setbacks from homes).

In Australia, a fair amount of research has looked at local reactions to wind farm noise, and the concept of “rural amenity” has emerged as a likely  factor in areas where moderate noise triggers more widespread complaints than expected.  The idea is basically that residents in some areas value rural quiet extremely highly, and in these places even distant turbines can trigger complaints; several windfarms have faced widespread reaction from  residents 2km (about 1.25 miles) away.

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