Yorke Peninsula farmers have warned that wind farms in their region will reduce its productivity and disrupt their best firefighting weapon.
A group of more than 90 farmers have called for a moratorium on all wind farm applications until a cost-benefit analysis is conducted and concerns addressed.
The Yorke Peninsula Community Group members hope to force a rethink of the planned 180 turbine Ceres wind farm, which would sprawl over 80,000ha of some of the state’s best farming land.
Members of the group rejected the offer to host wind turbines on their farms and be compensated up to $10,000 a year but the project can proceed with other farmers taking up the option.
The 150m-high turbines will restrict aerial crop spraying in the region, they say, and threaten to prevent the use of fire-bombing aircraft in the area.
In 2009, fire bombers were needed to stop a blaze that threatened the township of Curramulka.
“Aerotech (who are contracted to the CFS) have advised it is likely that aerial fire bombers will not be able to operate within the vicinity of the turbines due to visibility issues and wake turbulence, creating a major risk for the wider community in the event of a significant fire,” group member Martin Hayles said.
“We are not against wind farms but we do want to see them put in suitable areas, not on prime farming land where their presence puts our properties at risk and stops us from being able to farm in the most effective way we can.”
Origin earlier this year withdrew its interest in building a wind farm further north of the Ceres proposal, near Arthurton and Maitland.
The group has presented its case to the Select Committee on Wind Farm Developments in SA.
The Interim Development Plan Amendment, due for review later this month, currently allows wind turbines to be placed within 1km of a rural dwelling and 2km from a rural township.
There are no set-backs from boundaries in place to protect farming operations.
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