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Winds of change blow on Granite Belt

NOT HAPPY: Pozieres residents Ivan and Marion Armstrong are concerned a wind farm near their property will be too noisy and a blight on the landscape.
NOT HAPPY: Pozieres residents Ivan and Marion Armstrong are concerned a wind farm near their property will be too noisy and a blight on the landscape. Liana Turner

A GROUP of Pozieres residents have spoken out against the council's approval of a wind farm near their properties.

Ivan and Marion Armstrong bought their Pozieres property about 18 months ago and said they would see the turbines from their backyard.

They were also concerned about noise levels and the potential impact on their well-being.

Mr Armstrong said while he was "not against" green energy, he had no idea the Rabbit Ridge Wind Farm was planned nearby.

Southern Downs Regional Council and the developer Tim Lucas came to an agreement which cleared the way for approval of the wind farm which was originally knocked back by the council, in court.

Mr Armstrong said despite meeting with the council, he felt their views had not been listened to.

"Basically one of our biggest problems is the council will not give us information," he said.

He said Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie had seemed dismissive of their concerns, which he believes is at odds with her role.

"She's not supporting the interests of the community," Mr Armstrong said.

He claimed a significant number of nearby homes had been left off a map indicating the placement of turbines.

The Armstrong's neighbour Dino Maritan said it was disappointing the council had spent more than $170,000 in legal proceedings against the wind farm, only for new councillors to agree on a compromise.

Mr Maritan said at least 20 members of the community had been economically involved in opposing the development.

This included paying an acoustician for their own report into the sound impacts of the turbines.

He said their result was at odds with Mr Lucas' report, which claimed the wind turbines would not affect nearby homes.

"We paid our acoustician and that thing failed," Mr Maritan said.

Mr Lucas said it was "not true" an outdated map had been used in the plans. He said claims his noise study was flawed were baseless.

"I did (the noise study) again using the most advanced testing procedures," he said.

"It was all done properly in accordance with the standards."

Mr Lucas said it was no surprise there were concerns around the development, which he has been working to raise funds for, but believed those concerns were rooted in misunderstanding.

He said a diesel generator mentioned in the plans - which the residents said would mean the farm is "not green" - would probably not be used at all.

"It's not needed for the wind farm," he said.

The council's director of planning, environment and corporate services Ken Harris said consultation did take place in accordance with the Sustainable Planning Act.

"Community members did provide submissions to council prior to the application being decided," Mr Harris said.

"As the development application has been settled as part of the court appeal process, it is now a matter for the developer to progress the development."

A review by the National Health and Medical Research Council found there was a "lack of high quality evidence" into the impact of wind farms on health and "no evidence that exposure to wind farms directly affects a person's physical or mental health".

Topics:  renewable energy sdrc southern downs regional council wind farm

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