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Yendon and Elaine turbines code call  

Moorabool Council will write to the Federal Government supporting a national wind-farm code.

The decision came after WestWind Energy submitted a planning application for 40 wind turbines at Yendon and 24 at Elaine.

The letter, to Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett, will aim to prevent wind farms being “constructed against the wishes of the community”.

The council could have little influence over approval for the Yendon/Elaine wind farm.

The application has gone directly to Planning Minister Justin Madden because its capacity would exceed 30 megawatts.

Mr Madden will now decide whether to refer the decision to an independent panel, which will determine the fate of the application.

A second planning application for off-site roadworks is also likely to be “called-in” by the minister to an independent panel.

Moorabool Mayor Di McAuliffe said the council would seek the community’s views in its final submission.

“The major difficultly with applications such as this is that when the community, and particularly the community of interest, is distinctly divided, we need to ensure the studies and reports are up to date and have all of the information required,” she said.

WestWind community liaison manager Angela Sutcliffe said the company had originally planned 79 turbines but compromised on 64. “The reduction in number and/or the relocation of turbines can be attributed to a number of key factors including the concerns of host landholders and neighboring landholders, as well as the results of specialist studies, for example, in relation to Aboriginal heritage and flora and fauna,” she said.

Ballarat East state Labor MP Geoff Howard, who lives less than 3km from a wind farm near Waubra, backed an independent panel to provide the best outcome.

Moorabool Leader

8 April 2008

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