The Dalton gas-fired power plant has been given the go ahead by the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission, but with tighter conditions.
The PAC imposed the conditions after a public meeting was held in Gunning to enable the commission to hear concerns from residents in the Dalton and Gunning area.
The PAC has sought to address some of these concerns by imposing more stringent conditions on AGL, including:
• for the first time a low frequency noise emission level;
• the need for AGL to immediately shut down or limit the operation of the power station if permissible air and noise emission levels are exceeded;
• a reduction in the overall size of the power station from 1500MW to 1000MW; and
• limitation on the yearly operation of the power station.
The determination also requires the formation of a Community Consultative Committee.
State member for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson, who has been following this issue closely, said she was pleased that the PAC had listened to local concerns.
“I am pleased the PAC gave strong consideration to the issues that my local constituents in the Dalton and Gunning area raised during the public meeting on June 28.
“I would strongly urge AGL to keep the communities informed as we move into this potentially disruptive construction phase and I remain optimistic AGL will seek to maximise the level of involvement and benefits for the communities,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Meanwhile, Margarita Georgiadis of the Upper Lachlan Environment Association, which has protested strongly against the project, said she felt “gutted” by the decision.
“It’s a punch in the stomach. We are so disappointed.
“They [PAC] dedicated a page to the concerns brought up at the meeting, but so many of them weren’t actually addressed.”
Ms Georgiadis particularly took exception to the fact that a report by a consultant hired by the association had seemingly been ignored.
“Our consultant had recommended another site at Wagga. It ticked all the boxes, It was a better site, even, than the one at Dalton. The consultant had put a great deal of effort into the submission and that wasn’t even mentioned in the commissioner’s report.
“We’re all a bit miffed at that.
“It doesn’t look like they took our concerns seriously.”
She added that the group planned to appeal the decision and that in the meanwhile association members will join the consultative committee to ensure that the conditions are followed “to the letter”.