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Panel hears wind farm issues

A Ministerial Panel of three independent experts sat in Camperdown this week to consider amendments to the proposed Berrybank wind farm development.

Originally approved in 2009 for a total of 95 turbines measuring 130 metres in height, the amendment now seeks to reduce the number of turbines to 79, but with an increased height of 180 metres.

Developer Global Power Generation Australia Pty Ltd (previously known at Union Fenosa Wind Australia Pty Ltd), also sought permission for the future ‘micro-siting’ of turbines without the Minister for Planning’s consent, to exceed approved noise and shadow flicker standards (with the consent of relevant landowners) and have a minimum rotor blade ground clearance of 40 metres.

The Ministerial Panel convened at Camperdown’s Killara Centre on Tuesday and finished on Thursday.

Attendees included Corangamite Shire and Golden Plains Shire representatives, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning representatives, a legal team acting for the developer, numerous expert witnesses and several Berrybank district residents.

Residential concerns raised included the impact of the proposed wind farm on visual impact and native fauna.

Corangamite Shire planning and building manager Greg Hayes said proceedings began with an on-site inspection of the proposed wind farm site, which is located about 14km east of Lismore and 16km west of Cressy.

“The developer and submitters both presented their cases to the panel on Wednesday, with further expert witnesses for the developer to make presentations on Thursday,” he said.

“There will also be some discussion about possible conditions that might be applied to the amendment, if it is successful.”

Mr Hayes said the Ministerial Panel had six weeks to formulate its recommendations and submit them to the Minister for Planning for a final decision.