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West Wind turbines too close for Mount Egerton residents’ comfort

Mount Egerton residents are calling on wind energy company West Wind to move four 150-metre-high turbines further away from residential properties.

The turbines are part of the company’s controversial Moorabool wind farm project, with 107 turbines set to stretch south from the Western Freeway over land flanking Ballan, Mount Wallace and Mount Egerton.

Mount Egerton residents Angela and Frank Kearns are urging West Wind to move four turbines slated to be built 1000 metres from their house back a further 1000 metres.

“West Wind have certainly consulted, there have been numerous meetings and conversations and hearings, but they have just gone ahead and ignored our concerns,” Mrs Kearns said. “Many in our community did not want to stop the wind farm. We all just wanted to move the turbines that are close to us back to an appropriate distance.

“When we presented this idea they said it wasn’t an option as the company would want to sell on the project.”

Mrs Kearns, a retired nurse, said a lack of research into possible health effects worried her the most, especially as Mr Kearns has a genetic heart condition.

“We also went to the Senate inquiry. Nine recommendations came out of this yet none of them have been acted upon.

“Just because [adverse health effects] haven’t been scientifically proven yet, it doesn’t mean they don’t occur.”

West Wind’s project manager, Phil Burn, said it was impossible to agree with all requests to change the approved project.

“We will continue to work with the community to address concerns where we can,” he said.

Moorabool mayor Pat Griffin said the shire was committed to supporting renewable energy but was concerned over the proximity of turbines to residents’ homes and the effects on their health and well-being. “More research needs to be done as per the recommendations of the Senate inquiry,” he said.

Mrs Kearns said new laws stopping turbines being built within five kilometres of many towns, or within two kilometres of homes without landowners’ consent, should be retrospective.

“I don’t believe that [Planning] Minister [Matthew] Guy is powerless to make the legislation retrospective and it is not good enough to blame the previous government,” she said.

Greens state leader Greg Barber said wind farms were the biggest growth industry for regional Victoria over the past 10 years, but had been “killed off” by the new legislation.