Article

Birdwatcher's vow: I will take wind farm fight to high court

Hamish Cumming will continue his fight in the Victorian Court of Appeal on June 15 as he seeks to have the $1.5 billion Golden Plains wind farm, planned for Rokewood northwest of Geelong, revised to about 130 turbines. Mr Cumming said buffer zones around brolga breeding and flocking areas near the Golden Plains wind farm had been applied incorrectly by developer Westwind.

An experienced bird observer who has tracked the movement of brolgas in western Victoria for three decades says he is prepared to take his fight against a planned 228-turbine wind farm to the nation’s highest court.

Hamish Cumming will continue his fight in the Victorian Court of Appeal on June 15 as he seeks to have the $1.5 billion Golden Plains wind farm, planned for Rokewood northwest of Geelong, revised to about 130 turbines.

Mr Cumming said buffer zones around brolga breeding and flocking areas near the Golden Plains wind farm had been applied incorrectly by developer Westwind.

“There is a whole series of wetlands . . . they have been completely left out (of buffer zones),” he said.

Mr Cumming said if the standard was applied correctly, the Golden Plains wind farm that has been slated for construction next year would need to be reduced by about 90 turbines.

The mechanical engineer and Rokewood farmer Adam Walton already face a $350,000 legal bill after a judicial review of the project failed late last year.

“I believe I am correct and the legal system is here to protect people like me,” Mr Cumming said.

“If the state system won’t do it I’ll take it to the High Court.”

Mr... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

An experienced bird observer who has tracked the movement of brolgas in western Victoria for three decades says he is prepared to take his fight against a planned 228-turbine wind farm to the nation’s highest court.

Hamish Cumming will continue his fight in the Victorian Court of Appeal on June 15 as he seeks to have the $1.5 billion Golden Plains wind farm, planned for Rokewood northwest of Geelong, revised to about 130 turbines.

Mr Cumming said buffer zones around brolga breeding and flocking areas near the Golden Plains wind farm had been applied incorrectly by developer Westwind.

“There is a whole series of wetlands . . . they have been completely left out (of buffer zones),” he said.

Mr Cumming said if the standard was applied correctly, the Golden Plains wind farm that has been slated for construction next year would need to be reduced by about 90 turbines.

The mechanical engineer and Rokewood farmer Adam Walton already face a $350,000 legal bill after a judicial review of the project failed late last year.

“I believe I am correct and the legal system is here to protect people like me,” Mr Cumming said.

“If the state system won’t do it I’ll take it to the High Court.”

Mr Cumming said the brolga population was threatened, with about 250 breeding pairs left in the wild.

“We’ve already got seven operating wind farms in brolga habitat (in western Victoria),” he said

“There has been no successful breeding within 5km of any wind turbine.”

It is understood Westwind has submitted a plan to the State Government to seek approval for the lay out of turbines across some of the 16,500ha project site.

It was asked to release this map but said it could not comment because the matter was before the courts.

A spokeswoman said the Golden Plains wind farm must ensure it has a “zero net impact” on the brolga population.

“We remain committed to meeting all requirements of planning and environmental statutory approvals,” she said.

“We look forward to creating hundreds of local jobs and sharing the benefits from this project over many years with the people of Rokewood and the wider region.”

Westwind did not answer questions about why turbines sourced for the project had specifications beyond what the permit allowed.

The Golden Plains wind farm is crucial to the State Government’s plan to source 40 per cent of Victoria’s electricity needs from renewables by 2025, and 50 per cent by 2030.

It is understood the project could contribute about half of the 2025 target.


Source: https://www.pressreader.com...

MAY 27 2020
http://www.windaction.org/posts/51308-birdwatcher-s-vow-i-will-take-wind-farm-fight-to-high-court
back to top