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Hawkesdale region farmers raise concerns about proposed Western District wind farms

Encircled by operating or proposed wind farms, Simon Cozens says his once-tranquil property sounds like it’s in the middle of a “mechanical ocean”.

That’s the way he describes the noise created by turbines at Macarthur Wind Farm – and farmers across his region are concerned the cacophony will grow louder.

Residents in the Hawkesdale-Woolsthorpe region, northwest of Warrnambool, raised concerns last week with the National Wind Farm Commissioner about the number of turbines planned for the region.

If all permits are granted, 237 turbines could be constructed, with the Portland-Latrobe Valley power line conveniently located close by.

Mr Cozens said the number of turbines planned for his district was excessive.

“It’s not all the time but when the noise is here it’s like a mechanical ocean,” the Willatook farmer said.

“But the number of turbines that’s planned locally, we’ll be circled by wind farms and God knows what the noise will be like if that happens. It’s bad enough as it is.”

More than 100 people attended a meeting in Hawkesdale last week, which was attended by State Government representatives and National Wind Farm Commissioner Andrew Dyer.

He told The Weekly Times visual amenity, road maintenance and noise were all topics raised by landholders.

“There are concerns about the cumulative effect of having five wind farms constructed in close proximity to one another,” Mr Dyer said.

A letter from Piper Alderman lawyers threatening legal action was sent to more than a dozen Willatook landowners who may have signed agreements with Wind Prospect to host wind towers.

Piper Alderman were contacted by The Weekly Times but did not respond.

However, Wind Prospect general manager Ben Purcell said variations of the Piper Alderman letter had “been issued to landowners at wind farms for many years and no such claims have ever eventuated”.