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Mount Emerald wind farm near Mareeba gets Qld Government approval as residents threaten legal fight

Far north Queensland residents opposed to a wind farm approved on the Atherton Tablelands say they are seeking legal action to stop the development.

RATCH Australia has been seeking approval to build the 63-turbine wind farm at Mount Emerald, near Mareeba, for more than four years.

The Queensland Government approved the project and said it would have strict conditions, including day and night noise limits.

Tablelands Wind Turbine Action Group spokeswoman Lee Schwerdtfeger said the development still needed Federal Government approval.

“We’ve got 2,500 people living within five kilometres,” she said.

“We’ve got people in other states reporting major problems out to 10 kilometres, so that’s to do with sleep and all sorts of health issues.

“It’s just too big for an area that’s as intensively farmed as ours.”

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is standing by her decision to approve the development.

“I am deeply, deeply aware of all of the concerns and issues that they’ve raised and I think I’ve struck the right balance,” she said.

“The other thing that I’ve insisted the proponent do is actually develop a community engagement strategy.”

Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore said he was relieved the State Government had made a decision.

“I think that the majority of the community are probably supportive, although I have no real understanding of that,” he said.

“The important thing … from my perspective, is the widening of the economic base for our Tablelands region and for the Mareeba Shire Council in particular.”