On 18 October 2012, the Minister for Planning approved the Statewide Wind Farm Development Plan Amendment (DPA).
The amendment was approved following a consultation process, in which there were 245 public submissions, 8 council submissions and 59 verbal submissions at public meetings.
The DPA explicitly envisages wind farms in all rural type zones in the state. In these zones wind farms will be classed as Category 2 developments and not subject to third party appeal rights unless a turbine falls within 2km of a non-associated dwelling or township type zone. If a turbine falls within 2km, then the wind farm will be classed as Category 3 and subject to third party appeal rights.
Wind monitoring masts will all be Category 2 developments and not subject to third party appeal rights.
The visual amenity of wind farms needs to be managed according to the following criteria:
- Wind turbine generators need to be setback at least 1km from non-associated dwellings and tourist accommodation;
- Wind turbine generators need to be setback at least 2km from defined urban and township zones;
- They need to be regularly spaced, uniform in colour and mounted on tubular towers as opposed to lattice towers; and
- Vegetated buffers need to be provided around substations, maintenance sheds and other ancillary structures.
Wind farms should avoid or minimise the following impacts on nearby property owners/occupiers, road users and wildlife:
- Shadowing, flickering, reflection or glint;
- Excessive noise;
- Interference with television and radio signals and geographic positioning systems;
- Interference with low altitude aircraft movements associated with agriculture;
- Modification of vegetation, soils and habitats; and
- Striking of birds and bats.
Wind turbine generators should be setback from dwellings, tourist accommodation and frequently visited public places (such as viewing platforms) a distance that will ensure that failure does not present an unacceptable risk to safety.
In the following zones, wind farms will not be mentioned as an activity that may occur however the new policy regarding the management of visual amenity of wind farms will apply in these areas. The relevant zones are:
- The Clare Valley corridor
- Zones applying to coast and State waters
- Conservation zones
- Barossa Valley Protection District (designated as a non-complying development)
- Fleurieu Peninsula
- The landscape protection zones applying in the Flinders Ranges
- McLaren Vale Protection District (designated as a non-complying development)
- The River Murray corridor
Maps illustrating the policy regime implemented by the approved Statewide Wind Farms DPA as at the time of approval on 18 October 2012 can be accessed here. The maps do not reflect changes in zoning and cannot be relied upon as an indicator of whether a wind turbine would be appropriate at a particular location. These maps are intended to provide a high level representation of the approved policy regime as the appropriateness of any wind turbine at a particular location is subject to numerous site specific considerations.
The Ministerial statement and Statewide Wind farm Approval Development Plan Amendment can be accessed here (under “Viewing the Amendment”).
A parallel consultation was undertaken on matters which related to the DPA, but which were not able to be altered through that process, and requires regulatory amendment. Such matters included removing the need for land division approval in the case of wind farm developments when a lease extends beyond a six year period. The results were capture in the discussion paper, Wind Farms – Notification Regime and Land Division.