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Decision on way for statement for wind farm  

A decision will be made in coming months on whether the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm needs an Environmental Effects Statement.

Wind Power made the referral to the Planning Minister Justin Madden last month for its proposed 282-turbine wind farm.

If Mr Madden finds the project would have a significant environmental impact, the company must prepare an EES document.

Wind Power engineer Ross Richards said the company had worked with the Department of Sustainability and Environment to reduce possible environmental impacts, working out the best location for the turbines.

The submission to Mr Madden contains various studies done on the project, including a preliminary landscape and visual assessment, a detailed flora and fauna study and the targeted Brolga assessment.

Mr Richards said the studies had significantly impacted the project, reducing the original number of turbines from 370 to 282.

In Wind Power’s referral to Mr Madden, it was the company’s professional advice that because of those studies, an EES would not be warranted.

But Western Plains Landscape Guardians Group believe a statement is needed, saying the project would threaten certain wildlife species.

The group is opposed to the project because they believe the Western Volcanic Plains area is unique, with critically endangered grasslands.

Spokeswoman Cassie Franzose said some group members who lived on neighbouring properties were concerned about the impact on the visual amenity and property values.

“It’s just the sheer size of it that concerns us, there are several wind farms in the Pyrenees Shire, and this will be the place with the most turbines,” Mrs Franzose said.

Meanwhile, the layout of the wind farm is ready for community consultation, in the next stage of the project.

People are invited to have input at an information day on Saturday, July 26, at Lake Goldsmith Hall between 11am and 3pm.

The information will be used to prepare the planning application, which is expected to be lodged late this year.

The Courier

15 July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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