Residents in and around Rendelsham are angered by the thought of living near gigantic wind turbines if the development of one of the biggest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere proceeds.
Wattle Range Council chief executive officer Frank Brennan has confirmed that “several” submissions have been received from people across the region, which would be considered as part of the approval process of the Woakwine Windfarm.
An independent development assessment panel, consisting of three councillors and four independent members, is expected to make a decision on the development in the next few months.
Wind farm developer Infigen Energy lodged the application by the end of last year and, if approved, about 150 turbines will stretch over three council areas from the top of Lake Bonney to Cape Jaffa.
The project is expected to generate enough power for 150,000 homes.
Woakwine Windfarm will be bigger than the Lake Bonney Wind Farm, with its 112 turbines, which generates enough power for 100,000 households.
Graham Butterworth, one of the Rendelsham residents who has made a submission against the development, said he was furious to learn that three turbines could be erected within 1.1km of his house.
“When the sun sets, the blades of the turbines will be flickering over my house,” he said.
“The noise from the turbines will be at the maximum allowable level or more inside my house — what if it affects my health?”
Mr Butterworth said he had been living on the farm for 55 years and feared having turbines so close to his house and said they could drive him away from his property.
“I was here first, not the wind farm,” he said.
“What if I have to shift out and no one wants to buy my property because no one wants to live near these turbines?”
Other Rendelsham residents, who asked to remain anonymous, said many people in the region were opposed to the development.
“We are concerned about our health, how it could affect land values and noise,” one of the residents told The Border Watch.
“The government promotes wind farms as safe, clean, green, fuzzy, wonderful things, but the more you read about it, the more you realise there are problems across Australia and the globe.
“You can’t blame the landowners that will have the turbines on their properties, because it’s a great income for them.
“Let’s have some research going, that’s what we’re asking for.”
Infigen Energy development manager Frank Boland said between 30 to 40 landowners would host turbines on their properties, with the nearest distance between homes and turbines expected to be about 500 metres.
Mr Boland said since public submissions had been made, various amendments had been made to the plans.
“We take concerns into consideration and engage with the community on an ongoing basis,” he said.
“Only a few people have raised concerns, but the majority are happy and that’s reassuring for us.”
However, Dr Sarah Laurie, health director of the Waubra Foundation, said many residents around Rendelsham had raised concerns with her during a recent visit to the township.
The Waubra Foundation is a national organisation formed to push for independent research into health issues raised by people living near wind farms.
“People are angry, not only in Rendelsham, but across Australia and the globe,” Dr Laurie said.
“I know of 20 families in Australia who have abandoned their houses because they found it unbearable to live near turbines … there are many conflicting reports on the
health issues of living near turbines and more research should be done.”
The concerns from residents have surfaced in the wake of anger among residents in Allendale East and Eight Mile Creek over the proposed development of the Allendale East Wind Farm.
Dairy farmer Richard Paltridge recently won his appeal against wind farm developer Acciona Energy in the Environment Resources and Development Court, but Acciona has lodged an appeal against the court ruling in the Supreme Court.
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