Victorian Appeals Court denies bid to block wind farm

wind turbines against golden sky with wild grass in the foreground (aula energy)
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A legal bid by the residents of Hawkesdale to stop a wind farm being built 5km from their town in south-west Victoria has been rejected by the Victorian Court of Appeal, ABC News reports.

The People of the Small Town of Hawkesdale Incorporated sought to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision last August to dismiss its legal challenge to the extension of Global Power Generation’s (GPG) project planning permit.

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The proposal outlined the construction of up to 26 wind turbines with a total output of 97MW, up to a height of 180 metres. The residents’ group had concerns about noise and visual impact of the wind farm.

“The soul of our community will be destroyed. It will be the death of our town,” group president John Bos said.

This morning three Supreme Court judges determined the permit condition was valid with no errors, and refused the leave to appeal.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) said the decision meant “the amended permit is valid and the project can proceed.”

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” Bos said.

“This morning’s decision about the court case was not in our favour. It’s too early to take in all the reasons for the loss. Our solicitor indicated she will discuss with the QC probably over the next few days the ramifications of this verdict and what, if anything, can be done.”

The decision on the Hawkesdale Wind Farm came just days after public submissions closed on plans for another wind farm located around 22km north of Port Fairy, in the Moyne Shire.

Located between Hamilton and Warrnambool, Hawkesdale is home to around 311 people according to the latest Census data.

Spanning 2,280 hectares, the wind farm was designed to displace 333,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

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In a statement, a GPG spokesperson said the company welcomed today’s outcome. 

“GPG is pleased with the decision of the Court of Appeal. We will continue to work with the community and stakeholders on this exciting project,” they said.

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