The adoption of the TLPI means that future applications on irrigated land will require public notification as part of the application process so they community has the right to respond.
At a recent council meeting, councillors were told that the planning scheme categorises renewable energy facilities as ‘code assessable’, which restricts assessment of development applications to a specified process.
This process does not allow council to consider applications against regional strategic outcomes within the planning scheme nor was there an opportunity for the community to be notified.
Councillors reiterated their support for clean energy, especially solar technology and the development and expansion of power generation plants throughout the region. However, they realised this aspiration needs to be balanced with its long-term focus to protect good quality agricultural land, particularly the irrigation scheme.
Council’s planners explained that while the level of assessment for renewable energy facilities on irrigated land will change from code to impact assessment, it doesn’t necessarily mean the application will be refused, moreover that it will be subject to a greater level of scrutiny.
There have been no applications for renewable energy facilities on irrigated land since September 2017.