May 24, 2012

MP vows to protect communities from wind ‘monster’

Peter Collins | The Standard | 24 May 2012

Wind farm opponents have gained an ally in state Liberal MP Simon Ramsay, who vowed in Parliament this week to do everything he could to prevent a “monster” in the Penshurst area.

He specifically referred to the prospect of having 660 turbines in the district when all applications by renewable energy companies were considered.

A planning application for a huge 233-turbine Penshurst project close to the new 140-turbine Macarthur wind farm and several other project sites is expected to be lodged by early next year.

“I will do everything I can to protect western Victorian communities, both in relation to public safety and the generator’s compliance, to make sure we do not create a monster in western Victoria that we will live to regret,” the member for Western Victoria told Parliament.

Mr Ramsay also referred to the community battles to stop wind farm proposals at The Sisters and Mortlake’s south.

“Persistence and precedence is at work here, which is ignoring public opinion,” he said.

Mr Ramsay described the long process in resolving The Sisters’ proposal through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Supreme Court as ludicrous.

Objectors to the Penshurst proposal by UK-based company RES have organised a community meeting on Thursday next week with prominent activist Dr Sarah Laurie as guest speaker.

Dr Laurie is chief executive of the Waubra Foundation, which promotes research claiming to prove detrimental health effects for people living near wind farms.

The 7pm meeting at the Penshurst hall will be chaired by local resident Keith Staff, who is president of the community group Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians.

“I welcome Mr Ramsay’s comments,” Mr Staff said.

“We met him a few weeks ago near Macarthur. He saw the massive development and heard our concerns.

“There’s a lot of passion on both sides of this issue.

“RES is still undertaking an environmental effects statement and is yet to lodge a planning application, but we will keep up the pressure to prevent unsuitable development.”

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