A landmark decision in the Victorian Supreme Court may have significant legal ramifications on this side of the Strait.
“That’s the hope of protest group Respect Stanley Peninsula – No Wind Turbines Inc., an organisation formed in opposition to an energy giants’ plans to place 12 turbines about four kilometres from Stanley.
However, the developer, Sydney-based energy company Epuron, is undeterred.”
The decision on Friday was in favour of two Gippsland farmers who complained the noise generated by the nearby Bald Hills wind farm had caused health problems and a loss of sleep.
The court ordered the wind farm owners pay the pair a total of $260,000 as well as stop emitting noise at night.
The farmers’ lawyer, Dominica Tannock, also represents the Stanley protestors, and said the case set a strong legal precedent for both the Western Plains wind farm, and the Cattle Hill wind farm in the Central Plateau.
“It’s not binding in Tasmania, but Tasmania will look to Victoria because, as far as I know, it’s the only decision of its kind,” she explained.
She said Epuron was using the same noise assessors as the Bald Hill wind farm, which the court last week described as coming to “patently absurd conclusions”.
However, Epuron general manager of development Tasmania Donna Bolton said the company was not put off by the news.
“”This decision does not have any ramifications for the proposed Western Plains Wind Farm,” she said.
“The wind farm would be more than four kilometres from the township of Stanley, and the noise assessment has demonstrated it would be well within the noise limits prescribed by the Environment Protection Authority Tasmania.”
Respect Stanley Peninsula secretary Kerry Houston said the group had been thrilled at last week’s decision, and believed it could throw a serious spanner in the approvals process.”
“Basically, it might not go ahead,” she said, hopefully.
“The EPA have to look at the noise levels and the council aren’t able to make judgements against the EPA.”
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