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Minister calls in Chepstowe wind project  

Credit:  Brendan Gullifer, The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au 5 February 2011 ~~

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has heralded a step away from the blanket tick-the-box approach of his predecessor to wind farms by calling in a proposed development at Chepstowe.

Mr Guy said the project raised significant issues concerning the proximity of turbines to homes and the environmental effect on local brolgas.

He said his department would convene its own hearing on the issue to allow all interested parties to provide their views.

“The Coalition’s wind energy plan seeks to provide certainty to operators and communities, and minimise the effect of wind farms on the natural environment,” Mr Guy said.

The matter was set for VCAT hearing later this month after developer Future Energy claimed the Pyrenees Shire failed to determine the application in time.

Objector Graeme Shields, of Carngham, said yesterday it was recognition by the new state government of community concern about wind farms.

“I believe this is welcomed by all residents who are against this project,” Mr Shield said.

“This is an opportunity to go to a panel that is not restricted by the previous government’s guidelines.

“We cautiously welcome this development.”

Up to 130 Snake Valley and region residents were believed to have signed VCAT submissions objecting to the project.

The development would see three turbines erected on land 30 kilometres west of Ballarat.

Pyrenees Shire mayor Mike O’Connor said he welcomed the minister’s action.

“If the new government rolls up its sleeves and takes a hands-on approach to wind farms, we would be more than happy with it,” he said.

Last year former Planning Minister Justin Madden approved four wind farm projects in this region just before the state election campaign began.

Source:  Brendan Gullifer, The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au 5 February 2011

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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