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Legal action launched against wind farm over turbine locations  

Credit:  Melanie Pearce | ABC News | www.abc.net.au ~~

Legal action has been launched against the company behind a wind farm near Crookwell over turbines built in the wrong locations.

Earlier this year, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said it had become aware that 69 of the 73 turbines at the Gullen Range Wind Farm had not been built in approved locations.

Some were up to 187 metres from where they should have been.

The company, Goldwind Australia, applied for a modification to retrospectively alter the location of the turbines, but last week that was rejected by the Planning Assessment Commission.

The Department said it has started legal proceedings against the wind farm which has 21 days to respond to a draft order to move nine turbines.

It said if the company challenges the order the matter could be taken to the Land and Environment Court.

The Department said it has rigorously investigated the complex legal issues around the Gullen Range Wind Farm building turbines in locations not specified in the approval.

It said while the company claims it acted within its approval conditions, the Department shares the community’s opinion that the new positions of the turbines are not consistent with the consent conditions and have negative impacts on nearby residents and environmental areas.

A statement from a Departmental spokesperson said it is not reasonable to say that turbines located up to 187 metres from the originally approved location constitute ‘minor’ changes.

It said the Department will take every reasonable course of action to get the best possible outcome on behalf of the community.

However, a campaigner against the Gullen Range Wind farm isn’t satisfied.

David Brooks of the Parkesbourne-Mummel Landscape Guardians said the Department hasn’t gone far enough.

“The Department of Planning and the Minister indeed are not enforcing the PAC determination because the PAC determine was that all the 69 turbine locations were unauthorised and could not be approved,” he said.

“We will be pointing out to them that what they should be doing is ordering the company to dismantle the 69 turbines, to dismantle the 69 turbine footings and to rehabilitate all those areas. That’s what they ought to be doing,” Mr Brooks said.

“If necessary I will lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman against the Department of Planning.”

Goldwind Australia Managing Director Goldwind’s Managing Director, John Titchen, has told the ABC the company is considering its response to the Department’s action.

Following last week’s PAC ruling he said the company’s assessment was that all the turbines locations are consistent with the project approval.

Source:  Melanie Pearce | ABC News | 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.

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