South-west people adversely affected by wind farms hold little hope that a proposal for them to receive money to relocate will be successful.
The proposal was put to the Senate inquiry into wind turbines by former federal government aircraft noise specialist David Southgate, who said funding people to relocate was commonly used by government and industry to manage noise around facilities such as airports and mines.
However, farmer Adrian Lyon, who lives near the Oaklands Hill wind farm at Glenthompson, and farmer Annie Gardiner, who lives near the Macarthur wind farm, both said their prospects of getting funding were slim because the wind farms’ operator, AGL, had denied there was a noise problem.
Mr Lyon said he and his family had moved from their farm and spent most of the week in a rented property at Dunkeld because the low-frequency noise from the 32-turbine wind farm caused them discomfort.
He said the family would like to get funding to relocate but AGL had told him it did not buy farms.
Their grazing property had been up for sale for 18 months without success, Mr Lyon said.
Mrs Gardiner said she and her husband were forced to leave their Macarthur farm for about three days each week to avoid the cumulative impact of infrasound – very low-frequency sound – from the Macarthur wind farm.
They had not put their farm up for sale because they believed it would be dramatically devalued because of the noise impact from the wind farm, she said.
“There is millions of dollars of property in the south-west that is unsaleable because of the wind farms,” Mrs Gardiner said.
She said they had not pursued funds to relocate because AGL had denied there was a noise problem.
In his submission to the Senate inquiry, Mr Southgate said noise exposure standards recognised there would always be noise-sensitive individuals who would be disturbed even when noise meets the standards.
“The answer is not to stop necessary activities which have wide benefits across society but rather to minimise noise to the greatest practicable extent and to respond to any affected people in a sensitive and fair way,” Mr Southgate said.
Noise controls based on buffer zones and turbine noise standards were likely to prove successful for most of the people near a wind farm but they were not likely to provide comfort to “noise-sensitive individuals, he told the inquiry.
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