DEA REFUSES AUTHORISATION FOR THE GOEREESOE WIND FARM NEAR SWELLENDAM
Posted on the 23rd September 2015
The Department of Environmental Affairs has refused environmental authorisation for the Goereesoe wind farm and cited the following significant issues and reasons in support of their decision:
- The natural remaining vegetation on site consists of Eastern Rûens Shale Renosterveld and Rûens Silcrete Renosterveld both of which are classified as Critically Endangered Ecosystems. It also forms part of the CapeNature Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.
- The proposed site is within an Important Bird Area (IBA) and has an abundance of bird species of conservation concern in the area such as Denham’s Bustard, Cape Vulture, Martial Eagle, Secretarybird, Blue Crane, Black Harrier and White Storks which are potentially vulnerable to the impacts of wind energy facilities.
- The proposed site is unsuitable based on its proximity (30Km) to the Cape Vulture breeding colony at Potberg and international experience shows that vultures are very vulnerable to collision with turbines and the impact would be very difficult to mitigate due to the birds moving through the area on a regular basis.
- The proposed development falls within the 20Km buffer zone around the De Hoop Guano Cave which qualifies as a major bat roost as it roosts abundant bat species.
- The negative impacts of the Goereesoe WEF outweigh the positive benefits of renewable energy.
- Given the potential adverse threats posed by the project, the lack of assessment of location alternatives, the fatal flaws identified in the avifaunal and botanical assessment conducted as part of the EIAr dated February 2015, and the concerns raised by I&APs that the proposed facility not be constructed, the proposed development on the site is not supported.
- In view of the above, the competent authority is of the opinion that that the proposed listed activities will conflict with the general objectives of integrated environmental management stipulated in Chapter 5 of NEMA, 1998 (Act 107 0f 1998) and that any potentially detrimental environmental impacts resulting from the listed activities may not be mitigated to acceptable levels and should therefore be prevented altogether.
The applicant has the right to appeal this decision to which we will respond as appropriate.
Posted By Greytonian to The Greytonian on 9/23/2015 03:00:00 p.m.