RATCH-Australia CEO Steve Loxton has said he is “surprised” by Tablelands Regional Council’s decision to commence court action against the company.
TRC voted to start proceedings against Ratch for failing to comply with noise monitoring requirements at its Windy Hill Wind Farm.
The 20-turbine site at Ravenshoe was approved by the former Herberton Shire Council in 1999.
The original conditions of the approval required RATCH to conduct noise monitoring to be carried out periodically for periods of three months or more.
But there are no records to show the monitoring has actually been done, according to council and an independent report.
The TRC held a confidential discussion last Wednesday on a report from RATCH-Australia’s noise experts and the report from a firm it employed to do a peer review.
Councillors moved to instruct P&E Law to start proceedings in the Planning and Environment Court.
Council is seeking orders requiring RATCH-Australia to carry out a monitoring program in accordance with the appropriate standards relating to the assessment and measurement of sound from wind turbine generators. Councillors also asked the court to order the shutdown of three turbines during the evening and night until RATCH could prove compliance with the standards and the compliance was confirmed by a peer review report. But Mr Loxton said RATCH had commissioned two studies of the noise levels at Windy Hill including a three month measurement program at the site.
“All work was undertaken by independent noise experts and followed consultation with council,” Mr Loxton said.
“The noise study report concluded that Windy Hill complied with the council’s conditions of approval.
“We are surprised at TRC’s decision to initiate court proceedings at this time. ” Meanwhile TRC is calling on residents to “have their say” on a technical paper relating to wind farms which has been released by the State Government. Some councillors raised concerns with recommendations made.
The paper is available through the Department of Energy and Water Supply.
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