Because HRL is a coal-fired power station, residents in this 2 kilometer zone have no particular rights to oppose the project. However if HRL was a wind farm, every resident would have to give their consent to the project under the Coalition’s proposed planning policy released ahead of the election.
This highlights that under the Coalition’s planning policy it is more difficult to build a wind farm in Victoria than a coal-fired power station. This is a ludicrous situation that must be fixed by the Coalition. They are yet to introduce their planning policy into legislation and we remain hopeful that they will come up with a more sensible policy that doesn’t stymie clean energy projects. Friends of the Earth has been undertaking some great work to demonstrate community support for wind power and other forms of renewable energy. To see some of their efforts in this space hop here
So should coal-fired power stations also be subject to a 2 kilometre buffer? Well there’s no doubt that they have a greater impact on local communities than wind farms as they come with a range of air pollution related issues like sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. As The Age reported today locals in Morwell are worried that a new power station could add to existing respiratory problems. However we’re not calling for a 2 kilometre ‘no-go’ zone because we don’t think any more coal-fired power stations should be approved full-stop. And while other energy projects need sensible planning guidelines, they need to be evidence-based, rather than simply plucking a number, like a 2 kilometre buffer, out of the air.