Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Victoria Planning Provisions, a proposal to develop a wind energy facility requires a planning permit. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is responsible for this process.
The planning approval process sets out the guidelines that must be followed when designing a wind energy facility and the location of wind turbines. The process will also identify where it is prohibited to construct wind energy facilities. Restricting where you can build facilities may reduce or eliminate potential impacts from wind energy facility noise.
Assessing proposed wind energy facilities for noise
Approval for a planning permit requires a pre-construction noise assessment for a proposed wind energy facility. This assessment must comply with the New Zealand Standard NZS6808:2010, Acoustics – Wind Farm Noise. An EPA-accredited environmental auditor under Part 8.3 of the Environment Protection Act 2017 must make sure the noise assessment follows the New Zealand Standard.
On completing a wind energy facility, the operator must do a final noise testing and assessment report. This post-construction noise assessment must confirm the wind energy facility complies with the noise limits of the New Zealand Standard. Again, an EPA-accredited auditor must be appointed to verify this assessment report.
The audit process outlined above commenced in October 2018. Wind energy facilities approved before this time are exempt from this audit requirement.
The Environment Protection Act 2017 introduces a 'general environmental duty' and 'unreasonable noise' provisions that apply to wind turbine noise emissions at wind energy facilities. The Environment Protection Regulations 2021 also set specific requirements for compliance.
These requirements address the general environmental duty to minimise harm to human health and the environment. Also, wind energy facilities must not emit unreasonable noise. Under the regulations, operators of wind energy facilities must make sure they:
- comply with the New Zealand Standard
- implement a noise management plan
- implement a complaints management plan
- provide an annual statement with details of complaints, maintenance activities and noise remediation actions during the previous 12 months
- undertake noise monitoring procedures every five years to ensure ongoing compliance with the relevant noise limits.
EPA will begin requesting auditor review reports of noise management plans from operators from 1 Jan 2023.
For more details refer to Division 5—Wind turbine noise of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021.
Further information on the regulatory framework for wind energy facilities is available on the DELWP wind farm noise website.
In the first instance, you should report concerns about wind energy facility noise emissions to the wind energy facility operator. The operator will respond according to their complaints management procedures. If unresolved, report concerns about noise pollution to EPA.
If you need further help, contact the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner (AEIC).
Read more about wind energy facility noise
Reviewed 25 October 2022