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Further noise monitoring at the Wind Hill wind farm near Ravenshoe

Wind farm operator, RATCH-Australia, is annoyed that the Tablelands Regional Council is looking to carry out further noise monitoring at the Wind Hill wind farm near Ravenshoe and “waste ratepayers’ funds”.

RATCH-Australia’s executive general manager, Geoff Dutton, said that the latest move by the council flew in the face of its decision last month to accept an independent noise report commissioned by the TRC.

That report found that noise levels at the Windy Hill wind farm complied with the 1999 conditions of consent, though only just.

“This will be the third time in a few months that the noise emitted by Windy Hill turbines has been measured,” Mr Dutton said.

“How many more times will Council waste scarce ratepayers’ funds on expensive interstate consultants to reach the same conclusion as the existing two reports?

“These reports both concluded that noise levels are within prescribed limits,” Mr Dutton said.

Last week the council agreed to call for tenders to check noise levels at the home of Colin Walkden whose property is closest to the 20 turbines on the site.

In July, consultants employed by the council, NWA Environmental, found that noise at property was “marginally” within the limits allowed when the old Herberton Shire Council granted permission for the 20-turbine project in 1999.

NWA had been engaged to peer review findings of consultants employed by RATCH-Australia, which carried out monitoring after Mr Walkden complained about the noise being unbearable. RATCH’s report found the noise level complied with the farm’s consent conditions.

Last month the council said it would tell Mr Walkden the noise was within the stipulated limits and there were no grounds for enforcement proceedings.

However, it said that the small margin of compliance justified further monitoring.

Aftera behind-closed-door session at its last meeting, the council agreed to seek tenders for the monitoring.

Mayor Rosa Lee Long told The Cairns Post that monitoring by the council’s expert showed the level was just within the limits set in 1999.