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EPA considers proposal for Port Latta Wind Farm in NW Tasmania

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Nekon Pty Ltd for the Port Latta Wind Farm in Circular Head Council.

The proposal involves the construction and operation of a seven turbine wind farm with a capacity of up to 25 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The proposal also involves the construction of an underground cable to connect the wind farm to the Port Latta substation, approximately 1 km north of the site.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Circular Head Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, including the potential impact on threatened fauna species, particularly avifauna, as well as noise emissions," he said.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during construction and operation of the wind farm to reduce the impact to threatened fauna as well as noise emissions," Mr Warren Jones said.

The proposal was referred to the Board in May 2018 and public consultation was open for 28 day period from 14 July 2018.Thirteen representations were received in relation to the permit application. The e nvironmental issues raised in these representations were impacts to avian species, particularly eagles and threatened species; noise emissions; lack of transparent consultation and community engagement; and impacts to visual amenity.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.

The Board's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been have been forwarded to the Circular Head Council for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website at http://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments.