Mike Barnard (May 3) makes many ignorant assumptions about people who strive for fairer treatment by wind companies.
Most of us are not against wind energy in itself. In the absence of proper planning and control, we campaign for reasonable things like independent policing of turbine noise.
Congratulations to the Victorian National Party Conference delegates who, at Benalla on Saturday, voted for this responsibility to be given to the EPA. This is but one step on the road to reasonable management of the wind industry.
With state Liberal support, wind turbine neighbours can look forward to reasonably prompt action should nearby audible noise levels exceed current regulations.
Amazingly, there is currently no such mechanism for handling noise regulation breeches.
Mr Barnard asserts that the hundreds of wind facility neighbours’ groups around the world are better-resourced than the wind companies themselves. My experience with the people around Lal Lal, Moorabool, Mt Mercer, Waubra, Stockyard Hill, Macarthur and so on is quite different.
We are a diverse bunch of people who, each faced with the prospect of living near dozens of industrial wind turbines reaching 40 stories into the air, decided to apply our limited spare time to finding out more about this industry, and then to striving for some balance between turbines and the people around them.
Some of us can only allocate evenings and weekends to this cause.
Others sacrifice work or family time during the day to liaise with politicians, the media anyone who we think might help.
We are up against an industry which is, first and foremost, driven to make a profit. Many of these companies are very large and are based in places like Spain, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.
They employ full-time professional people. Contrast this with volunteer organisations like the one I’m part of, the members of whom have little experience in such matters. For more than seven years, we’ve devoted between us literally thousands of hours to defend our right to reasonably enjoy our homes and the countryside we love.
Just like many similar groups, we could be fighting this good fight for years to come. We’re prepared to do this because the costs of failure are very high in terms of lifestyle degradation and significant devaluation of our primary assets our homes and farms. In the case of Lal Lal, more than 2000 people live within 5kms of planned turbines.
Across Victoria, thousands more rural people stand to be affected by turbines that have been approved, but which haven’t been built yet.
Most of these turbines are new-generation 3 Megawatt turbines, the noise impacts of which are yet to be properly understood, as few turbines this big are yet in operation close to homes.
Building such large turbines so close to so many homes would be like playing Russian Roulette with the health of thousands of rural Victorians.