The EPHC is contributing to the effort to address climate change in a number of ways.
Future of the National Wind Farm Development Guidelines
In light of the expected increase in wind farm developments in coming years the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) directed a Working Group of officials to draft the National Wind Farm Development Guidelines (the Guidelines) in January 2009. The draft Guidelines outlined best practice for industry and planning authorities and were not mandatory, nor did they seek to change existing jurisdictional statutory processes. The draft Guidelines were released for public consultation in July 2010 for a period of twelve months to allow jurisdictions time for further consultations with relevant stakeholders.
As a result of these consultations, it has become apparent that jurisdictions have developed, or are currently developing planning application, assessment and approval processes within their own planning frameworks to manage community concerns about wind farm developments such as turbine noise, shadow flicker, electromagnetic interference and impacts of landscapes and wildlife. The Environment Protection and Heritage (EPH) Standing Committee has therefore decided to cease further development of the Guidelines.
Wind farm proposals that may impact on matters of national environmental significance will continue to be assessed under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The draft guidelines remain a valuable reference document for industry and planning authorities and may be used and reproduced for non-commercial purposes.
Officials noted that the Senate Community Affairs References Committee has made recommendations on the future of the Guidelines in its inquiry report, 'The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms'. At this stage the Australian Government is still considering its response to the inquiry report.
Progress of the National Wind Farm Development Guidelines
At it’s meeting in Darwin on 5 July 2010, EPHC reinforced its commitment to stronger cooperation on National Wind Farm Development Guidelines.
Environmental Guidelines for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Geological Storage 2009
These Guidelines will promote a comprehensive and nationally consistent approach to environmental assessment of carbon dioxide capture and storage in geological formations. They will assist states and territories to manage the environmental risks posed by this emerging technology, and will also assist the work of the newly launched Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.
Together with the Australian Transport Council, EPHC has provided advice to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on measures to encourage the uptake of more fuel efficient and low emission passenger and light commercial vehicles and options for collaboration across governments on travel demand management.
Further information on climate change can be accessed at http://www.climatechange.gov.au