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Wind turbines tearing up communities and blowing away lifelong friendships  

Credit:  Andrew Carswell | The Daily Telegraph | February 22, 2013 | www.dailytelegraph.com.au ~~

They are about to subject their neighbours and friends to the low drone and heartache-inducing vibrations of giant wind turbines, built just 2km from their homes.

But the vast majority of farmers in the central west who have given wind companies permission to build turbines on their rural properties are doing so without any impact on their own livelihoods.

Most farmers who will host turbines in the rolling hills between Mudgee and Wellington – where four largescale wind farms are proposed – live well away from the sites, with some living upwards of an hour away.

Nowhere is this reality more apparent than in Uungula, where company Wind Prospect has lodged an application to build 250 wind turbines, each 194m high.

Here, the pursuit of money has split the community, where farmers cashing in on proposed wind farms don’t have to endure the side effects, while those most affected are left without compensation.

One land owner will bank up to $300,000 a year from having 15 to 20 turbines on his property. But his home is more than 10km from the nearest proposed turbine.

That burden falls to his neighbours who live underneath where the 65m blades will turn.

Further down the road, John and Jane Xuereb are hemmed in on three sides by the Uungula project.

“It’s cruel. The vast majority don’t even live near the turbines,” Mrs Xuereb said.

Hosting neighbours include Bruce and Dolcie Johnstone and Clancy and Robyn Rowbotham, who have homes 10km and 45km away respectively.

“The Rowbothams, when his wife got sick, we took their children in for several weeks and helped them out, fed them and got them to school,” Mrs Xuereb said,

“I can’t understand how they can do this to us.”

Mr Rowbotham, an 81-year-old retired farmer who lives in Gulgong, told The Daily Telegraph that financial incentives were the reason behind his decision.

“Where we are there is only one neighbour affected,” he said.

“They have lodged a complaint, which is fair enough. The way I look at is, well I didn’t ask (the wind power company) to put it there. I said it was OK by me.

“Financially, as far as I’m concerned, it will be good.”

The Johnstone family refused to comment yesterday.

South of Mudgee, on Crudine Ridge, another wind project has torn the community to pieces.

A joint project by Wind Prospect and Continental Wind wants to build 160 wind turbines, some barely 2km from farmers.

Source:  Andrew Carswell | The Daily Telegraph | February 22, 2013 | www.dailytelegraph.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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