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Rugby wind farm to deny farmers services

A proposal for a huge wind farm at Rugby near Boorowa has set alarm bells ringing among some local farmers who fear it could deny them access to aerial agriculture and bushfire fighting services.

One concerned farmer, Joe McGuiness, “Willowmere”, east of Boorowa, said aerial agriculture operators had already told him the wind farm area would be a “no fly” zone.

The proposal by Suzlon Energy is for 90 turbines – each about 150 metres high – spread over about 25 properties.

It is close to another large wind farm proposed by Epuron and now before the NSW Government for up to 100 turbines across about 40 properties at Rye Park between Boorowa and Rugby.

Local residents are in the process of forming a Boorowa landscape guardians association, similar to those in other wind farm affected rural areas, notably Crookwell.

Mr McGuiness said the nearest tower would be within 100 metres of his property boundary and an aerial agriculture operator had told him they would observe a one-kilometre buffer zone around the wind farm.

“The ramifications of that are unbelievable for bushfire fighting, crop spraying and spreading super,” he said.

“Bushfires are a big problem. I was burnt out in 1979 and ground crews will not go in to fight a fire here now unless there is air support.”

Charlie Arnott, who runs a 2000-hectare biodynamic beef operation on nearby “Hanaminno”, said he had felt “physically sick” when he had seen a map showing twice as many turbines as he had previously believed would be built.

He said the nearest turbine would be 1.3 kilometres from his house.

“That theoretically means I would not get aerial support until the fire was 300 metres from my home.”

He said he had “nearly perished” in his house when a fire had swept through his property in the late 1970s.

Mr Arnott said he was also concerned about noise from turbines, and the impact on property values, given the Boorowa district was becoming popular with “tree changers”.