A group of farmers has written to long-time neighbours threatening to sue over plans for a wind farm, causing deep divisions within a tiny rural NSW community.
The proposed 33-turbine Bodangora wind farm near Wellington, south of Dubbo, is causing rifts among families who have called one another friends for decades.
The letter, signed by 11 people from a handful of families under the banner of the Bodangora Wind Turbine Awareness Group, was sent to farmers who have put up their hand to host the turbines on their land.
It raises concerns over property devaluation, potential health impacts, ”shadow flicker” and ”blade glint”.
It also warns people that the signatories will ”seek to recoup from you any damages we suffer or costs we incur as a result of the nuisance created by the wind turbine.
”We may be unable to continue to live and work healthily on our land and to develop our enterprise, pastures and livestock,” the letter states. ”There may be relocation costs and losses on sale.”
Michael Lyons said his family had occupied their property for four generations and he now barely spoke to the wind farm proponents.
”I grew up with them,” he said. ”Some of these people have been my very best friends.”
Mr Lyons said he had heard anecdotally that wind turbines could cause serious illness.
But Infigen Energy, which plans to build the wind farm, said opposition to the project came from a small but vocal minority who had been schooled by anti-wind farm lobbyists, Landscape Guardians.
”[Legal letters are] becoming a common tactic for a very small group of people to use,” the Infigen development manager, Frank Boland, said. ”There’s no causal link between wind turbines and health impacts.”
Campbell Gregory, a former mayor of Wellington, plans to host about 14 turbines and said the rifts between neighbours was ”a great shame”.
Infigen is pressing ahead with its plans to build the turbines and is expected to report back to the planning department on public submissions within the next two months.
New wind farm guidelines for NSW are being finalised.
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