Wind farm applicants 'should contribute for infrastructure'

Applicants for proposed wind farm developments should provide contributions towards community infrastructure, Boorowa Council's general manager has said in a draft submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

Therese Manns, writing in response to the Draft NSW Wind Farm guidelines released December, flagged several issues council would like the department to consider.

She said wind farms' construction and operation place significant pressure on local infrastructure.

The draft submission, written on behalf of Boorowa Council, also states the draft guidelines do not require the provision of a road maintenance plan during construction phase.

"Construction may extend over a significant period of time and it is unreasonable to expect deterioration caused to roads during the construction phase to be left until the end of the project," said Ms Manns in the draft submission.

"This presents safety issues for the local community.

"Nor is it reasonable to expect ratepayers to pay for maintenance required to roads due to road activity generated by the wind farm during the construction period."

Ms Manns asked in the letter that a process for noise complaints be included in the wind farm guidelines.

"Whilst the guidelines do suggest a proposal to strengthen the regulation of noise from wind farms … with the EPA having a regulatory role, Council is concerned at the burden they will face through noise complaints," Ms Manns said in the submission.

Decommissioning and rehabilitation plans should include provision for restoring any damage to council-owned infrastructure due to the decommissioning period, the draft submission said.

The Draft NSW Planning Guidelines for Wind Farms, prepared by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, aim to improve consistency and rigour in the planning assessment process and ensure effective consultation with local communities.

Submissions for the draft guidelines closed on Wednesday 14 March.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has been contacted for comment.