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Blown away by wind farm policy

Wind turbines will not grace the landscape of the Macedon and McHarg ranges, following changes to the State Government’s policy on wind farms.

The government declared the Macedon Ranges and McHarg Ranges no-go zones for wind farms last week, with residents in Sidonia and Tooborac celebrating the news.

But the new guidelines, announced by Planning Minister Matthew Guy at Hanging Rock, have also quashed a Woodend community wind farm.

Mr Guy said as part of amendment VC82 all national and state parks as well as the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, Great Ocean Road region, Macedon and McHarg ranges and the Bass Coast would be no-go zones.

“What we have said is the Macedon Ranges, and you can see from where we are today at Hanging Rock, the beautiful scenery, this is a tourist asset for Victoria ,” Mr Guy said.

But the guidelines will not affect the existing 400 turbines or 1000 approved turbines across the state, only future applications.

RATs of Tooborac community group member Deborah Wright said the news was an “absolutely brilliant” end for her community’s eight-year fight. Macedon Ranges Guardians spokesman Bruce McGregor said the announcement was great news for Sidonia.

“You got the sense out of the (previous) government that they didn’t care,” Mr McGregor said.

But Woodend Integrated Sustainability Group president Peter Hansford said the announcement had left the group deflated as it would also affect plans for a community wind farm at Woodend. “It’s a great disappointment to a group that has been working on this project for four years and enjoys community support and interest,” Mr Hansford said.

The group was planning a three-turbine community wind farm to generate enough power for 3500 homes in Woodend, Macedon, Mt Macedon and Newham.