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Developers seek to weaken wind farm conditions

Wind farm developers are contesting the conditions imposed by the Tablelands Regional Council at the High Road Wind Farm near Tumoulin on the Atherton Tablelands.

Residents are dismayed to learn the developers – also linked to the 70-turbine Mount Emerald proposal at Walkamin – want to reduce the conditions which protect neighbouring land owners from the impacts of the wind farm.

The Tablelands Regional Council approved the proposal on 9 June 2011 with a number of conditions, but the wind farm developers contested the conditions in a submission to Council on 7 July 2011.

The High Roads site was originally proposed by Transfield Services which has since been bought by the Thai corporation Ratchaburi Holdings, trading as RATCH-Australia.

Tablelands Wind Turbine Action spokesperson Steve Lavis said he was appalled by the developer‟s lack of consideration for their neighbours.

“The contested conditions mostly refer to the noise limits stipulated by the Council,” Mr Lavis said. “For instance, the developers want to delete references to „open windows‟ when testing noise levels in people‟s homes.

“This may come as a surprise to the developers, but most people in Far North Queensland leave their windows open, and in fact many leave their houses open or sleep on their verandahs in summer.”

Mr Lavis said other contested conditions suggest the developer wanted to avoid the controlling, turning off or decommissioning of turbines if noise levels were too high.

“They want the wording changed from „will‟ to „may‟. I think that says it all,” Mr Lavis said.

“The developers also want to reduce their responsibilities to ensure acceptable noise limits are met on neighbouring land which had already been subdivided prior the wind farm approval, but not yet built on.

“This raises serious questions for the potential impacts on more than 20 households which are located within 2km of the proposed Mt Emerald Wind Farm.

“We would like assurances from the Council that wind farms won‟t have any impact on the rights of neighbouring land owners to subdivide their lands in the future.

“If this is not the case, the Council is removing the rights and future benefits from these landowners.”

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More information: Steve Lavis 0418 299 900