YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
|Govrnments, ie politicians,
like to make decisions bsed on quantitative measures, rather than to bring
into question subjective arguments or considerations that may vary from
situation to situation. It's safer that way. So, if we have to make decisions
regarding as to what is an 'acceptable sound level', we take measuresments
of what the ambient sound is now, 'add' the sound in question, and see
if it is below a set standard for noie. That is a simplification of the
isue no dount, you you get the point. The question is, what is an acceptable
level? How is this determined? Generally, it can't be. If a standard is
set, it may be relevant to one situation and not to the next. Who determines
what is acceptable. With nopise (insofar as Victoria is concerned), we
have accepted a New Zealand standard of 'acceptable noise level'. If an
additional sound, such as wind turbines, is perceived to be 'below' the
standard, then that is good for the wind farm operator. If above the 'acceptable'
line, a bit of imaginative tweeking of the figures usually brings it down.
Either way, decisions can be made irrespective of the individual circumstances.
Planners are happy because they have something to work to. Politicians
are hppy because its not their fault, of course, if someone complains about
a noise situation - there are guidelines and the intrusion mets the guidelines,
so thats the end of the matter. And the wind trubine operators have a target
to meet, or rather, a target not to be reached, so their presented noise
figures are always on the acceptable side, aren't they!
But when it comes to visual
impact, who is to say what is acceptable or not acceptable? My concept
or concern of an intrusion into my visual environment could be entirely
contrary to someone else. I don't mind the visual intrusion into the landscape
of the windturbines at Toora - as I drive past at 100km. But to live with
them, day in day out - I understand and sympathise with the concerns of
those that do. But all this argument as to what is visual intrusion does
not sit easy with any government. The government would very much like a
clear cut quantitative determination so that they can look at two sets
of figures, compare them, and make a decision. Easy! But how on earth do
you properly, genuinly, with a personl visual aspect of the landscape?
I have no idea. But some people believe they can do it. The Australian
Wind Energy Association is buddying up with the Australian Council of National
Trusts to study this question, and thus to come up with a quantitative
assessment of visual intrusion. If it is established, it will b easy for
a 'consultant' to visit your property, make a valued, quantitative, assessement
of a proposed visual impact, and tell you, and the planners, if it
is acceptable or not.
Having hard that the National Trust and AusWEA were getting together, the following communication is of interest.
12 February 2007. From Peter
Stone, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply, same day.
13 February 2007. Response
from Peter Stone to Tom Warne-Smith.
20 February 2007. Reply from
Tom Warne-Smith to Peter Stone..
Landscape values include those historic, scientific, cultural, social, archaeological, natural and/or aesthetic values which have been assessed as having value for past, present and future generations.
In regard to 'heritage landscape' is is difficult to accurately define, perhaps it could be said that where a landscape forms an important part of the history of a heritage place it is a heritage landscape. (I'm sure there are better definitions out there, just me thinking off the top of my head). Probably the best I can do is give examples. The ACNT is in Canberra so I'm not particularly aware of places in Victoria that I could site as examples for you. The best thing to do in that regard would be to contact the Vic Trust directly.
The other thing I should point out is that this is the aim of joint project with AUSWIND - to develop a methodology for assessing landscape values.
I hope this gives you I kind of broad brush idea of the Trust approach to the issue. Indeed it is difficult to balance the interests of those directly affected by windfarms and the boarder need to use renewable, non polluting energy to reduce the impacts of climate change on the whole community. If you have any more questions or need more explanation please feel free to email me.
The following is an informal report from Randall Bell, of the Victorian Landscape Guardians Group, who attended a meeting of the Australin Council of National Trusts at which, I presume AusWind attended, headed 'Landscape Assessment Session,, held on 14 February 2007.
The project is a partnership
of the ACNT and Auswind.
Our landscape "values" were: Geological, Geomorphological, Hydrological, Ecological, Geographical, Archeological, Agricultural, Economic, Social, Historical, Cultural (tourist/recreactional), Visual, Scenic, Wilderness, Spiritual, Natural, Non-natural, Amenity, Undiscovered
Dr. Jan Schapper from the
Heritage Council said she preferred the Burra Charter list: Aesthetic,
Historic, Scientific, Social, Spiritual and Economic, although I'm (not?)
sure of the last. Another suggested "a sense of place" as a landscape value.
The next question was, who
should assess these values or characteristics?
How do you select the people
to make the assessment?
How do they assess the values?
Can the use of consultants
How can the consultation
process be improved?
Does the criteria have to
be objective, or subjective or a combination?
Should the assessments be
of Australia/state-wide landscapes or cherry picked to where a wind power
plant might be considered?
We were each asked to make
I then quoted from Geoff
Strong's article in The Age of 10 August 2006 [LINK]:
There has been no published rebuttal of this article by either the Minister for Energy or Auswind as has been the case with anti-wind articles. Please note the words in brackets are mine -Randal Bell.