A Senate committee hearing on wind turbines has heard claims of poisoning on the site of a proposed wind farm in far north Queensland.
About 50 Atherton Tablelands’ residents opposed to the Mount Emerald wind farm attended yesterday’s hearing in Cairns.
The Queensland Government recently approved a controversial proposal to build 63 wind turbines at Mount Emerald but the project is yet to gain federal approval.
Tablelands regional councillor Marjorie Pagani told the hearing, it appeared clearing began on the site before RATCH Australia received State Government approval for the project.
“There are poisoned tracks either side of the creek,” she said.
“It’s very clearly depicted. Cracking of the trees which is caused by poison, a stench of poison in all the waterways and if one goes outside the turbine proposed circles it’s thick, lush cypress pine vegetation and undergrowth.”
A noise specialist, Robert Thorne, told the hearing, the conditions placed on the wind farm could not be enforced.
Dr Thorne, who previously studied sound levels on Mount Emerald for the Tablelands Regional Council, told the hearing, there were flaws in the current regulation of wind farms.
“They can’t be enforced, they’re impractical, they’re ambiguous, in basis they’re unreasonable both to the wind farm operator, because it doesn’t say how long this has to work for, and the residents, because there’s no complaints process,” he said..
RATCH rejects wind farm site poisoning claims
RATCH’s Anil Nangia said it would investigate the poisoning claims but rejected the allegations.
“There’s certainly not been any poisoning or chemicals put on site that we’re aware of,” he said.
“We certainly haven’t done any land clearing that we’re aware of.
“The turbine site hasn’t been finalised. We’re still going through the conditions of the DA [development application] which requires us to have a 1.5 kilometre setback from the nearest residence.”
He said he was confident the company could comply with any regulations.
“We’re happy to work with the committee. If there is some scientific basis for new conditions we will comply with those,” he said.
“We believe that there’s already been eight inquiries in the last five years into the wind farm and all of them have found that wind farms are operated under the required rules and regulations and there’s been no issues with the wind farm’s operation and maintenance.”
The Senate committee is due to report in early August.
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