Wind farm developers have withdrawn their application to erect a wind monitoring mast on the Camel’s Hump Ranges near Clare and said they will not be pursuing any development on the ridgeline.
Wind Prospect applied to the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council earlier this year to erect a 50m tall mast to measure wind, as a precursor to a possible wind farm development.
The proposal attracted strong community opposition and saw the council’s Development Assessment Panel approve the installation, but with a condition that guy wires should be kept a minimum of 20 metres from the historic dry stone wall that runs along the ranges.
Wind Prospect flagged its intention to appeal the decision, but have now decided to withdraw their application altogether.
“During the past few weeks we’ve brought forward our feasibility studies, particularly focussing on the construction footprint of the proposed wind farm; given the heritage values identified on the site and the Council’s potential expectations regarding the protection of such values,” Wind Prospect development manager Stuart Whiting said on Friday.
“Based on these studies it has been decided that we will not be pursuing any further interest in the site.”
Mr Whiting said the deciding factor had been the locally heritage listed dry stone wall.
“Because the ridge is quite narrow, we would be unable to avoid the wall in every location,” he said.
He said the company was actively looking for development projects in the Mid North, but declined to say where in particular.
Clare Ranges Protection Group spokesperson Michele Prince said the group was very pleased to hear, through the Northern Argus on Monday, that the Camels Hump Ranges were unlikely to be developed into a future industrial wind farm.
“We thank all of those involved in our team and who have assisted and supported our cause,” she said.
“The situation hasn’t gone away though, since we were recently notified that the Skilly wind mast decision by the Council’s Development Assessment Panel has just been appealed by DP Energy.
“That means it is very possible that a wind farm development is likely in that area and along that ridge which may effect anyone up to 10km of the ridge.”
The council’s Development Assessment Panel recently refused to grant permission for a wind monitoring mast to be erected on the Skilly Hills, south west of Clare, and proponent DP Energy Australia has lodged an appeal against the decision.
The appeal will be heard at the Environment, Resources and Development Court on September 6.
Ms Prince said if there were people concerned, or who had any questions about this topic, they should start their own independent research into the effects and impacts of wind farms and what residents had experienced in the past.
“The Clare Ranges Protection Group is happy to assist those residents and businesses who may be concerned about this development – if required.
“There is now a large support group in the Mid North who have much information about this topic, and this acts as a good network for residents who want to know more,” Ms Prince said.
Concerned residents in the Laura and Robertstown districts have met recently to speak about the issues of concern regarding the environmental, social and health impacts of wind farm developments.
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