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Regulations under the Environment Protection Act
From 18 October 2022 amendments to the Environment Protection Regulations (Division 5 of Part 5.3) introduced new, ongoing wind turbine noise regulations.
These regulations provide clarity for wind energy facility operators and investors, and assurance for communities regarding the protection of human health and the environment from wind turbine noise.
Requirements for wind energy facility operators under these regulations include:
- compliance with noise limits in accordance with the relevant noise standard
- an upper noise limit of 45 dB(A) or background sound plus 5 dB for properties subject to stakeholder agreements
- completing a post construction noise assessment within 12 months of commencement of operations
- implementing a noise management plan, including a complaints management plan
- providing an annual statement detailing the actions taken to ensure compliance
- conducting noise monitoring every five years, from 1 January 2024.
As Victoria’s independent environmental regulator, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the primary regulator for wind energy facility noise, for both new and existing facilities.
EPA's updated Wind Energy Facility Turbine Noise Regulation Guidelines help industry to comply with their regulatory obligations, including where amendments to the regulations have been made.
To find out more about how the regulations were developed visit Engage Victoria.
Changes to Victoria’s planning system
From 3 August 2021 changes were made to planning schemes to align with wind turbine noise requirements in the Environment Protection Regulations.
This removed a requirement to place mandatory conditions for operational wind turbine noise on new planning permits as operational wind turbine noise is now addressed by the Environment Protection Regulations.
Conditions of existing planning permits continue to apply. The Minister for Planning continues to be responsible for assessing applications and approving new permits.
Wind energy facility permit holders may apply to amend existing permits to remove these conditions. Applications to amend permits will be referred to the EPA for comment.
From 4 July 2023, further changes were made to planning schemes to better align the pre-construction requirements with the regulatory framework for operational wind turbine noise under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (more specifically, Division 5 of Part 5.3 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021).
The amendment ensures that pre-construction (predictive) noise assessment reports required for permit applications are subject to the same requirements as post-construction reports under the operational noise framework, and more clearly assess whether the facility can comply with the relevant operational noise limit imposed by that framework.
Complaints about wind energy facility noise
Concerns about wind turbine noise should be raised directly with the wind energy facility operator. The operator will respond according to their complaints management procedures.
If unresolved, concerns about noise pollution can be reported to the EPA.
For further assistance contact the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.
Page last updated: 07/07/23