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Angst over transmission lines for wind farms

Concern is mounting about the impact of several power transmission lines from new and planned wind farms in the south-west.

Scores of residents from the Mortlake and Noorat areas will meet again at Noorat on Thursday to express concern that the scale of 51 kilometre-long transmission line built from the Salt Creek wind farm at Woorndoo, north of Mortlake, to Terang was too large.

Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan will address the 7.30pm meeting at the Kolora-Noorat Football Netball Club to update people on the action being taken to address residents’ concern.

Mr Riordan said the residents’ concerns were being taken up by Moyne and Corangamite councils who had been “blindsided” on the lines’ construction.

A petition is being circulated in the Noorat and Mortlake communities calling for a halt to further construction of transmission lines until there is more regulation to reduce their footprint on the landscape.

Mr Riordan said he hoped to present the petition to state parliament next month.

The Sisters resident Tyna Murray said the transmission lines from the Salt Creek wind farm were being carried on large pylons up to 28 metres high and had made a big visual impact on the landscape.

Ms Murray said people were concerned that each of the several wind farms planned for Moyne Shire would run similar large scale transmission lines to connect to the electricity grid, further reducing the visual amenity of the rural landscape and potentially increasing the fire risk.

She said the transmission lines for the planned Mortlake South wind farm were likely to take a very similar route to Terang as that taken by the Salt Creek wind farm.

Ms Murray said residents wanted wind farm companies to share transmission lines to reduce their impact on the landscape and even underground the lines.

Many residents were hit by last month’s St Patrick’s Day fires and were also concerned the proliferation of transmission lines across the districts could increase fire risks.

They were also alarmed that some of the pylons for the transmission lines were located on roadsides and could be a safety risk, she said.

Moyne Shire Cr Colin Ryan has called for the council to meet with wind farm company representatives to find out the proposed routes for their transmission lines and whether they had held any discussions with other wind farm companies about sharing transmission lines.

Fellow Moyne Cr Daniel Meade has called for the council to write to the state government urging it to require wind farm companies to have a planning permit for the construction of transmission lines.