Waubra Farmer Wins Wind Farm Battle Against Acciona

 Brendan Gullifer
The Courier, September 3, 2011

A DAIRY farmer who took Acciona Energy to court in a case in which former Waubra resident Trish Godfrey gave evidence achieved victory this week. Richard Paltridge was appealing a decision to grant the wind farm operator approval to build a 46-turbine wind farm near his property, south of Mt Gambier.

While Justice Costello and a panel in the Environment Resources and Development Court rejected evidence pertaining to health problems, the court upheld the appeal on the basis of visual amenity.

The court found the introduction of turbines would detract visually from the area to an unacceptable degree. Ms Godfrey told the hearing in January she was forced to move from her Waubra home because of sleep deprivation, headaches and nausea after turbines began operating.

She said she moved out in April 2010 when Acciona purchased her property. At the time Acciona managing director Brett Thomas said the decision to buy the Godfreys’ property was not related to allegations about health problems.

Meanwhile, anti-wind groups across Australia welcomed results of a peer-reviewed Danish study confirming larger turbines emit more lower-frequency noise than older and smaller turbines.

Low-frequency noise is the basis of many claims of adverse health effects from rural residents. Green groups continued to maintain wind farms have no scientifically measured effects on health.

And the Senate inquiry into windfarms, which met in Ballarat earlier this year, released its findings yesterday. Among seven recommendations it called for the Commonwealth government to initiate as a matter of priority a study into the possible effects of turbines on human health.

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