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Fire fears raised over wind turbines at Berrybank

A property owner near a proposed wind farm at Berrybank has echoed concerns about turbines hampering firefighting efforts.

Allan Schafer, who lives with his wife Anne, near the site for a proposed Union Fenosa 99-turbine project, said helicopters or fixed wing aircraft would not fly within the wind farm because of safety risks.

And he said raised-bed cropping paddocks within the proposed wind farm precinct would limit the ability of trucks to access a fire.

“I’m a member of the local CFA and we are advised not to enter the raised beds for fear of getting bogged,” Mr Schafer said.

“There would be 13 or 14 properties immediately against the boundary of the wind farm that would be affected.

“Our home would be surrounded in a 270-degree arc by 16 turbines within two kilometres and 57 within 3.5kms.”

Similar concerns were raised last month by Keith Mast, of Penshurst.

The Clean Energy Council, which represents the wind energy industry, said it was disappointing some people were using the fear of fires to push an anti-wind farm agenda.

“Wind farms can actually help firefighters contain fires,” the council’s policy director Russell Marsh said.

“As well as creating a fire break, access roads around turbines allow much faster access for crews if a fire was to break out.

“Wind turbines attract and earth lightning during storms, reducing the likelihood of a fire starting from a strike.

“Turbines can be shut down remotely, making them a stationary obstacle.”