The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed windfarm and transmission line at Low Head in the municipality of George Town.
The proposal by Low Head Wind Farm Pty involves the construction and operation of a wind farm comprising 10 wind turbines generating up to 35 MW of electricity. The proposal also involves the construction of twin 22 kV transmission lines from the wind farm site to the George Town substation 8 km to the south.
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 EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the George Town Council.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly management of threatened flora and fauna species, including avifauna, as well as noise emissions,” Mr Warren Jones said.
“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during construction and operation of the wind farm to reduce the risk of impact to threatened flora and fauna as well as noise emissions,” he said.
Nine representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in June 2017. The environmental issues raised in these representations included noise emissions, lack of community engagement and negative impacts on property values and visual amenity. Public consultation was open for a 42 day period commencing 15 July 2017.
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, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.
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, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the George Town 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.