February 12, 2020

New wind farm legal stoush blows up

The Star | Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 | thestar.com.au

The controversial Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower is embroiled in yet another legal case.

Neighbours last week began new proceedings in the Supreme Court at Morwell against the wind farm operators, Bald Hills Wind Farm Pty Ltd (BHWF), alleging nuisance noise and loss of property value.

They are seeking a declaration from the court that the wind farm does not comply with its permit and an injunction restraining the company from continuing to operate the wind farm at current noise levels.

They said the turbines have caused excessive noise and infrasound to enter their properties, causing distress, headaches, ear aches, tinnitus, neck aches, unpleasant pulsing sensations, disturbed sleep and stress, all factors they say have rendered their properties “unhealthy and uncomfortable to live and work in”.

They also say “the incursions have caused the affected properties to decline in value”, according to a court writ.

The writ stated BHWF did not assess compliance with the night noise rule of the wind farm’s permit at any time from April 24, 2015 to March 23, 2019, and that night noise exceeded the limit for 10 per cent or more of the time.

“Unless restrained by the court, BHWF will continue operating the wind farm in the same or similar manner as it has been operating during the relevant period, and the nuisance will therefore continue,” the writ stated.

The neighbours taking part in the legal action are Don and Dorothy Fairbrother, Don and Sally Ann Jelbart, Andrew Kilsby, The Firs (Vic) Pty Ltd, Alex McDougall, Noel Uren and John Zakula.

Residents near BHWF continue to join with South Gippsland Shire Council in a legal battle against the wind farm.

The neighbours have joined council as defendants after Bald Hills Wind Farm Pty Ltd commenced action against council in the Supreme Court.

That action seeks to overturn the council’s determination that the wind farm produced nuisance noise under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

While Bald Hills Wind Farm Pty Ltd had to file its submissions last week, council and the neighbours have until March 4 to file theirs in response.

“It is in the residents’ interest to uphold the lawfulness of the council’s decision finding a nuisance in their favour. Bald Hills Wind Farm wants to overturn this decision in their favour,” the residents’ solicitor Dominica Tannock of DST Legal said.

A judicial review proceeding is listed for trial in Melbourne on June 10-11.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2020/02/12/new-wind-farm-legal-stoush-blows-up/