Restrictions on wind farms should also apply to coal and coal seam gas

Published: December 26, 2011

Tough restrictions on wind farms announced by the New South Wales government should also apply to coal seam gas and coal.

The restrictions announced by NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard give a veto to anyone living within a 2 kilometre radius of a proposed wind farm.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said it was illogical to apply these restrictions to wind farms when the environmental and health impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas extraction were, potentially, so much greater.

"A noise from a wind turbine might be a problem to some but it sits on a concrete base a few metres square and has no impact whatever on ground water," Mr Hutton said.

"A coal mine, on the other hand, can be only a few hundred metres from a dwelling, will massively impact on the health and amenity of anyone living within a ten kilometre radius. It can destroy both ground and surface water and will never be rehabilitated to its former state.

"A coal seam gas field will also have extremely noisy machinery like compressor stations and reverse osmosis plants, fugitive emissions and can cause contamination and draw-downs of the water table.

"It is simply illogical to apply one set of extremely harsh set of rules to one kind of energy source without also applying it to the other."

Mr Hutton said the Queensland government, for all its unambiguous support for the mining industry, had still introduced two-kilometre buffers around rural towns for coal and coal seam gas.

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