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Turbines fan fire concern

A controversial wind farm bid is under fire from dozens of local firefighters who say it could have disastrous consequences.

Residents of Whiteheads Creek, east of Seymour, have dug in with Mitchell Shire Council to battle the $100 million Cherry Tree Wind Farm project in a 12-day VCAT hearing.

A group tribunal submission composed by CFA member Sutton Waugh said the proposed wind turbine complex could spark blazes in the fire-prone region, as well as hinder emergency access to the area.

“The development of 16 wind turbines on the top of Cherry Tree Range will increase the risk of fire and bushfire to the area,” the submission reads.

“In relation to the Trawool Valley and Whiteheads Creek, this undoubtedly would have disastrous effects on the whole area and the residents within, should an industrial turbine complex start a fire anywhere within this area,” the document said.

While the proposal has received no formal objection from the CFA, the submission argued the applicant, Infigen Energy, had ignored CFA guidelines relating to the construction of wind energy facilities.

Infigen Energy took the application to VCAT after Mitchell Shire Council unanimously voted against granting a planning permit in October, saying the wind farm would negatively affect flora and fauna and wasn’t in the community’s interests.

The hearing will go to VCAT on January 29.