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Skipton farmers take on Origin Energy  

Credit:  BY FIONA HENDERSON | The Courier | www.thecourier.com.au 29 June 2012 ~~

A group of Skipton farmers is fighting Origin Energy plans to put overhead power lines on their properties.

The Stockyard Hill Wind Farm Skipton To Lismore Power Line Group wants underground lines put down the road reserve instead.

Group chairman Andrew Gabb said about 30 farms south of Skipton would be affected by the 132,000-volt power lines.

Mr Gabb also said he was concerned by Origin Energy’s “absolute disdain” for the landowners.

“They think we are just dumb country hicks with no idea of what’s going on. They think their money can buy their way through.”

But Origin Energy spokesman Scott Hargreaves said the company had “absolute respect” for the landowners’ rights and interests.

Mr Gabb said the group had been given independent advice the best line route was under the road reserve.

He also said farming could become a “costly disaster” if power poles were placed in the middle of paddocks, as well as a safety risk with the use of large trucks, long augers, spray machinery with folding booms and large headers and collection bins. He said if the lines went underground no properties would be devalued by Origin Energy having an easement over them and there would be no farming disruption.

He also said there would be no occupational health and safety concerns, no fire threats, no need for flora or fauna protection and no power poles or lines in front of private homes.

Mr Hargreaves said the power lines would be used to deliver renewable energy from the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm into the national grid.

“We undertook a careful investigation to find an initial 750-metre corridor that would avoid environmentally and socially sensitive areas, and since have worked with landowners to find a particular easement of 50 metres that minimises impact on their farm businesses,” he said.

“The alternative proposal to use road reserves is not feasible for this voltage and configuration due to proximity to towns and houses, the impact on native vegetation, and insufficient width of the road reserve to accommodate the infrastructure and construction process.”

Source:  BY FIONA HENDERSON | The Courier | www.thecourier.com.au 29 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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