The New South Wales Governmebt is proposing to introduce some of the toughest wind-farm guidelines in the world.

Under the draft guidelines – which are open for consultation until  March 14th – people living within two kilometres of proposed wind farms will have the right to veto them.

The guidelines include comprehensive rules for protecting "visual amenity". In effect, a proposed turbine should not impact the views of anyone living within two kilometres of it.

New South Wales already has some of  the world’s striciest noise guides but under the new proposal, these will be tightened further. Noise levels will not be allowed to go above 35 decibels, or exceed background noise by more than five decibels. 35 decibels is about the noise level of a quiet library or a soft conversation indoors; a ticking watch is about 30 decibels while a bird twittering is much louder at about 50 decibels. Most countries which have maximum noise limits, set them between 40 and 50 decibels.

The one concession that the Government has made is to exclude any restriction on sounds at frequencies below the threshold of human hearing.

Greens planning spokesman David Shoebridge said ”If this draft plan becomes law, the government has effectively chosen a destructive coal seam gas future for New South Wales, over the clean, green and jobs-rich wind-energy sector. New South Wales is abandoning the most cost-effective option for reducing its carbon footprint, which in effect means it is giving the green light for coal seam gas projects across the State.”

(The New South Wales Government has granted licences for coal seam gas exploration even in inner-city suburbs, without any veto rights or even public consultation.)

The draft guidelines are at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Development/Onexhibition/tabid/205/ctl/View/mid/1081/ID/66/language/en-US/Default.aspx

Comments can be:posted to:
Policy, Planning Systems and Reform,
Department of Planning and Infrastructure,
GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001; or
emailed to innovation@planning.nsw.gov.au