Planning Minister Matthew Guy has been asked to consider a new report which suggests the Waubra Wind Farm exceeds some noise measures and is non-compliant with environmental regulations.
Commissioned by a group of local residents affected by the wind farm, the report on research by acoustician Dr Bob Thorne was yesterday presented to Ballarat-based Victorian Senator John Madigan and calls for a two-kilometre setback to be implemented at Waubra and other existing wind farms.
Senator Madigan used a meeting with Mr Guy to call for turbines to be turned off or relocated to allow for the Stepnell family to return to their Lobbs Road home.
“We have had to leave our home on our 4500-acre property to live in Ballarat because of the health effects of turbines,” Sam Stepnell said yesterday.
“Living here, we have all experienced health effects and now with this report proving this wind farm is non-complaint, it is time for action to be taken.”
Mrs Stepnell said the government had failed residents of Waubra, who had to fund their own research for the report.
Last year the Victorian government introduced new planning guidelines, which ban wind turbines within two kilometres of an existing home.
Senator Madigan called for a change in the “burden of proof” on wind farm developments.
“These are not political people here in Waubra. They are average Australians who should be allowed to live and work on their own land without suffering because of wind farms which have been built after they bought their properties,” he said.
A 2011 CSIRO submission to a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry found no evidence that interference from turbines was harmful to health and that a wind farms 350m from a home produced noise levels equivalent to between levels in a quiet bedroom or a car travelling at 60 km/h.
The same submission said the majority of property values around wind farms did not decrease.
A spokesperson for ACCIONA said the company would not comment on the report as it had not been provided a copy.
The spokesperson said a compliance program had been implemented in consultation with the Department of Planning and Community Development and that Mr Guy had acknowledged the Waubra Wind Farm was compliant as recently as May 21.
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