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Farmer appeals S-E wind farm approval

Spanish company Acciona Energy has been taken to the environmental court over its proposal to build a $175 million wind farm at Allendale East near Mt Gambier.

On October 25, the Environment Resources and Development Court in Adelaide will hear an appeal filed by local dairy farmer Richard Paltridge over construction of the wind farm near his property.

Acciona Energy – joint developer of the Cathedral Rocks wind farm near Port Lincoln with Roaring 40s and the consortium leader of the group building the Port Stanvac desalination plant through its Agua division – lodged a planning application for a 46 turbine, 70.5MW wind farm in September last year.

The project, capable of powering the equivalent of 43,000 homes, was assessed and approved by the District Council of Grant’s Development Assessment Panel in March this year with construction scheduled to begin in early 2011. It follows more than five years of project investigation by Acciona.

An Acciona spokesperson told The Advertiser: “We are certainly hopeful that the court will come to same conclusion as the District Council”.

The council’s DAP, which meets on Wednesday this week, is working on a brief and statement for the appeal.

District Council Mayor Richard Sage said the matter was in the court.

“I haven’t heard anything against the project, so it’s pretty much one person and some family that have appealed,” Mr Sage said.

An ERD Court Conciliation Conference in Mt Gambier held in June failed to achieve a compromise agreement.

Mr Paltridge’s earlier submission to the council is believed to have raised concerns about the humming noise associated with the wind turbines, the flashing lights on the wind turbine towers, expected to be about 100m high, obstruction of views and concerns about landowner agreements with the developer.

He has also presented recorded television footage about wind farms to the DAP to support his research into wind farms and reasons for objecting to the project.