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Tensions run high over Naroghid wind farm

A proposed wind development near Cobden is causing tension between landholders with some farmers concerned about health impacts.

The Naroghid wind farm has been in the planning pipeline for nearly a decade and now looks set to start construction works after the state government rolled out new requirements for turbine-related projects.

Dairy farmers Barrie and Angela Molloy purchased their property in 2007 but said they were unaware it was located close to the proposed renewable energy site.

The Naroghid development does not have to conform to the state government’s new two-kilometre buffer zone as the project was drafted before the Coalition came to power in November 2010.

But under the government’s changes, the company only has until March 15 to start construction or it will be subject to the stricter guidelines.

Mrs Molloy told The Standard that several turbines in the proposed wind farm blueprint were located within 500 to 700 metres of some households.

She claimed the wind farm proponents engaged in minimal consultation with adjacent landholders.

“What I don’t understand is that the state government have introduced two-kilometre setbacks on turbines being constructed near houses yet there’s still wind farms like this one which don’t comply,” Mrs Molloy said.

“If two kilometres is a safe distance and one kilometre isn’t, then why is this project allowed to go ahead?”

Another farmer, Bev Fleming, also called for the new buffer zones to apply to all wind farms that had not started construction.

“I’m not against wind farms, but I’m against them being built in a highly-populated area and especially where children are involved,” Mrs Fleming said.

Her grandchildren live within one kilometre on three of the proposed towers while her neighbour’s young children live between 600 and 800 metres of three towers.

A spokeswoman for the development company, Wind Farm Developments, did not return calls yesterday.