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Australian Community Launches Legal Challenge Against Construction of Wind Farm

A community in the Australian state of Victoria has launched a legal challenge against the construction of a wind farm in the Strezlecki Ranges south-east of Melbourne.

Osmi Australia lodged applications to construct a 33-turbine wind farm near Delburn, which was approved by Richard Wynne, Victoria’s planning minister, in March.

However, over 1,000 members of the Strezlecki Community Alliance have filed a legal action with the Victorian Supreme Court to have the decision overturned, saying the Latrobe City Council’s local planning scheme did not allow wind farms to be built within five kilometres of the urban areas of Moe, Morwell, and Traralgon, according to documents cited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Alliance’s lawyer, Dominica Tannock, said the wind farm was “prohibited.”

Sheep graze in front of wind turbines in Lake George on the outskirts of Canberra, Australia on Sep. 1, 2020. (Photo by David Gray/Getty Images)

“We rely on an expert report by a licensed surveyor which says the wind farm proposed to be built at Delburn is within 5 kilometres of a residential zone within the urban area.”

Tannock previously helped residents win a case against another wind farm operator, Bald Hills, to reduce the amount of noise its turbines emitted at night.

Justice Melinda Richards said the company had not complied with a noise permit and handed down a permanent injunction forcing the company to “take necessary measures” to address the issue. The company had three months to fix the noise; otherwise going forward, it could not operate at night.

“Noise from the turbines on the wind farm has caused a substantial interference with both plaintiffs’ enjoyment of their land,” according to her judgement (pdf).

“The generation of renewable energy by the wind farm is a socially valuable activity, and it is in the public interest for it to continue. However, there is not a binary choice to be made between the generation of clean energy by the wind farm, and a good night’s sleep for its neighbours. It should be possible to achieve both.”

Meanwhile, Osmi Australia has vowed to defend the current case.

“We will continue to progress the proposed Delburn Wind Farm and look forward to ongoing engagement with the community on this exciting renewable energy project that will deliver benefits for the Latrobe Valley and surrounding communities,” the company said in a statement obtained by ABC.

Daniel Y. Teng

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Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.

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