A law firm representing residents living near the Macarthur wind farm has called on Moyne Shire to step in and order the facility to stop operating at nights.
The Piper Alderman firm says the council has an obligation to take action after it received 20 official complaints from residents about noise coming from AGL’s 140-turbine wind farm last year.
The council has begun investigating the nuisance complaints under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, which the lawyers have labelled “a serious risk to public health”.
They say their clients are farmers and graziers and include families with young children who do not have the individual means to prosecute a private claim of nuisance against a company with the resources of AGL.
“Our clients consider that the council has a duty, not only to remedy the nuisance detailed in the notifications in accordance with the act, but also a duty of common law to protect our clients from reasonably-foreseeable harm,” the firm said in a letter to the council.
It suggested a prohibition notice could be issued to prevent AGL from operating the wind farm at night, avoiding the “serious and adverse consequences” of sleep disturbance and deprivation suffered by the 20 clients and their 16 children.
Lawyers also urged the council to write to Health Minister David Davis, requesting a health-impact assessment and a public inquiry into the wind farm.
The shire’s energy and major projects co-ordinator Russell Guest said council had to ensure the wind farm complied with noise standards set out in the original planning permit.
Councils were being left to resolve complex and little understood matters relating to wind farms, he said.
In a report to council, Mr Guest recommends it consider the request to support a health-impact assessment once it finishes investigating the noise complaints.
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