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Wind farm veto victory for ‘common sense’

The state planning minister’s decision to refuse the Naroghid wind farm was a win for common sense, according to objectors.

Matthew Guy approved five of the six wind farms in the western region before tougher planning guidelines kicked in yesterday.

The Naroghid wind farm, between Camperdown and Terang, has been in the planning pipeline for nearly a decade.

Yesterday, nearby dairy farmers Bernie and Angela Molloy welcomed the decision.

“We’re pleased, it’s a win for common sense,” Mrs Molloy said.

“The company didn’t supply all the correct paperwork and the fact it was so close to houses and children.”

The Molloys bought their property in 2007 but were unaware it was located close to the proposed site.

The company, Windfarm Developments, had proposed to spread the towers over 600 hectares of grazing land, but several nearby residents waged a vigorous challenge.

They argued that some turbines would be as close as 500 metres from houses. The Naroghid development did 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 had until yesterday to start construction or it would be subject to the stricter guidelines.

Windfarm Developments director Alistair Wilson said the company was still considering the planning minister’s decision.

The company would need to come back to the state government with the required geotechnical engineering report in a renewed application which would be considered under the new guidelines.

The five recent wind farm approvals at Hawkesdale, Mount Gellibrand, Yambuk, Salt Creek and Woolsthorpe are due to come on stream in the next few years.