The Victorian Government has introduced new regulations for wind turbine noise
Wind farms play an important role in helping Victoria achieve its emissions reduction targets and ensuring a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy future for all Victorians.
It’s important to protect the amenity of local communities and provide certainty for industry.
New Regulations under the Environment Protection Act
From 1 August 2021, new regulations set specific requirements for wind farm operators under the Environment Protection Act 2017. These requirements do not change the limits for wind turbine noise but do set additional measures to demonstrate compliance.
Requirements for wind farm operators include:
- ongoing compliance with the relevant noise standard - New Zealand Noise Standard NZS 6808 2010 (or NZ 6808 1998 for older wind farms where this requirement has been specified on the existing planning permit);
- implementation of a noise management plan, including a complaints management plan;
- providing an annual statement detailing the actions to ensure compliance;
- completing a post-construction noise assessment; and
- conducting noise monitoring every five years.
As Victoria’s independent environmental regulator, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will be the primary regulator for wind turbine noise, for both new and existing facilities.
- More information about the new Environment Protection Regulations is available at EPA.
- Information on the project and the consultation undertaken by the government is available at Engage Victoria.
Changes to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act
From 1 July 2021, noise and other emissions from wind farm turbines are no longer subject to the nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. This has been changed in recognition of the protections provided by the Environment Protection Act 2017 and to remove duplication with the new regulations.
Changes to the Victoria’s planning system
From 3 August 2021, further changes have been made to planning schemes to align with the introduction of the new EPA noise regulations.
A key change has been to remove the requirement to place mandatory conditions for operational wind turbine noise on new planning permits. These conditions are no longer required because they duplicate the requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations. This will mean that councils will not be required to regulate these matters for new or amended permits.
Conditions of existing planning permits will continue to apply. The Minister for Planning will continue to be responsible for assessing applications and approving new permits.
With the introduction of the new regulations, it is open to wind farm permit holders to apply to amend their existing permits to remove these conditions. Applications to amend permits will be referred to the EPA for comment.
Policy document and amendment
The policy document, Policy and Planning Guidelines for Development of Wind Energy Facilities in Victoria (DOCX, 121.8 KB), July 2021 has been updated and published to reflect the changes.
The changes to planning schemes were introduced by Amendment VC206, Gazetted 3 August 2021.
Complaints about wind farm noise
Concerns about wind farm turbine noise should be raised directly with the wind farm operator. The operator will respond according to their complaints management procedures.
If further assistance is needed, the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner can be contacted.
Page last updated: 31/08/21