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Aviation ‘hazard’: south-west wind test safety fear  

Credit:  Peter Collins, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 21 July 2011 ~~

Aviators have again raised concerns about flight hazards around wind farms after learning of tests for another possible renewable energy project north of Koroit.

Warrnambool Regional Airport Advisory Group has raised the alarm over a 50-metre high anemometer on property owned by Murray Goulburn Co-op.

The site is only about five kilometres from the airport at Mailors Flat and is in the flight path of aircraft.

Concerns were aired at a recent meeting of the advisory group which earlier this year also complained about potential flight risks posed by the proposed Woolsthorpe wind farm which has been approved with works to start soon.

Another wind farm proposal at Willatook has also triggered safety concerns.

Warrnambool City Council, which owns and operates the airport, has written to the national Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Murray Goulburn, the state Department of Planning and Community Development and Moyne Shire Council.

The city understands the anemometer is monitoring conditions potentially for development of a wind farm.

“Council cannot in any way support this type of development of the site as wind turbines would infringe the obstacle limitation surfaces for the Warrnambool Regional Airport,” the advisory committee said.

The Standard understands a loophole in state planning laws allows wind testing towers to be erected without the need for a shire permit.

Advisory committee chairman Stephen Lucas said there were glaring gaps in government legislation regarding the proximity of wind farm turbines to airports.

He will raise the issue next month with the Australian Airports Association calling for unified policy.

“Sensible regulations are needed,” he said.

“We believe there needs to be a limit of 30 kilometres around airports for wind farms.

“The site north of Koroit would be only five kilometres away and right in the flight path.

“The whole issue of obstacles causes us some concern.”

Mr Lucas said others major anomalies were that wind farms were not featured on aeronautical maps used by pilots for non-GPS visual landings and there was no uniform requirement to have flashing lights on turbine towers.

Source:  Peter Collins, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 21 July 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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