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Wind farm court action blowing in the wind  

Credit:  By Adrienne Francis | ABC News | 30 October 2013 | www.abc.net.au ~~

An anti-wind farm lobby group in southern New South Wales wants the State Government to freeze a controversial wind farm proposal.

In September, the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure recommended conditional approval of a 63 turbine farm near Collector village, between Canberra and Goulburn.

But Friends of Collector president Tony Hodgson says the community is outraged and wants action from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.

“If Mr O’Farrell and Mr Hazzard are going to live up to their promises both before and after the election allowing the community to have more say, then they have to take notice of the community,” he said.

The wind farm plan has been put forward by energy company RATCH Australia.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has been meeting stakeholders in Collector to hear their final comments before determining the proposal’s fate.

“The overwhelming number of people at this meeting are against this proposed wind farm,” Mr Hodgson said.

“The Department of Planning’s approval is deficient in so many areas that it just can not proceed.”

Divided community

Other farmers in the region disagree with the lobby group and are urging the Planning Assessment Commission to make a swift determination.

Local wool producer Gary Poile says he is eager to host up to five of the proposed turbines on his farming land.

“It has been one of the most drawn out approval processes you could get,” he said.

“I think it has taken something like four years to get to this stage. There has been plenty of time for everybody to put their comments on the table.

“I think most people in Collector would just like to see it over and done with one way or the other and make their minds up yes or no.

“Put us out of our misery.”

But Mr Hodgson has warned neighbours of his cattle farm that he is prepared to take the matter to court if the wind farm goes ahead.

He has written to nearby land owners who are hoping to host turbines, and told them he is prepared to sue for nuisance if the commission gives the green-light to the proposal.

“There are two other legal actions being contemplated right now,” Mr Hodgson said.

“If I suffer nuisance caused to me by my neighbours having erected wind turbines… I have made it very clear to them, I will sue them.”

Mr Poile says he is willing to fight back.

“Here we have got someone who obviously has a lot of wealth and a lot of influence trying to bully the local people around,” he said.

“Look we will deal with that when it comes. You might see me up in the High Court there defending myself there one day.

“I think it is worth it, we have got to make a bit of a stand and not be pushed around by people who are just coming down here to use the land as a tax dodge to offset their income.”

Fragmentation of farmland

“Being in this area, we are impacted a lot by hobby farm syndrome with a lot of the land getting fragmented,” Mr Poile said.

“Every time a farm gets subdivided and sold up it puts more pressure on the old farming families that are still grazing.

“The wind turbines can sand bag the old grazing farms against an encroaching hobby farm blocks.

“I don’t think we can afford to lock this country up as a museum.”

It is not known how long the NSW Planning Assessment Commission will require to make a final determination on the proposal.

Source:  By Adrienne Francis | ABC News | 30 October 2013 | www.abc.net.au

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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