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Green group wound up by NSW wind farm rules

ABC Online

1404 days ago   Article ID# 1416172
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Friends of the Earth Australia

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (ABC Online) - Environment group Friends of the Earth has taken aim at the New South Wales Government over planned stricter rules for wind farms.

Under the changes companies planning to erect turbines must notify all people living within two kilometres.

Residents will then be entitled to veto installations, though there will be an appeals process for companies.

Friends of the Earth says the Government is bowing to pressure from a group called the Waubra Foundation about health issues referred to as "wind turbine syndrome".

The foundation, named after a wind farm north-west of Ballarat in Victoria, says people who live near turbines suffer from symptoms including headaches and high blood pressure.

Friends spokesman Cam Walker says they have obtained documents from the New South Wales Health Ministry has cast doubt on the claims.

"If the Minister needs to take on board people's health, then surely the first place he would go for advice on how people's health may be impacted by wind energy is to his own department, where the specialists are," he said.

"This organisation was set up by a very long-term anti-wind campaigner who has personal interests in a range of fossil fuel companies.

"The FOI documents show that the research work of the Waubra Foundation is of the lowest scientific order. It puts forward a hypothesis but it does not prove it."

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard says the laws will be fair.

"I'm not going to get into the details of who's what where in terms of what the greens want to argue," he said.

"The bottom line is the State Government is committed to getting renewable energy, meeting our targets, but also being committed to people's health.

"If there's some doubt about it we'll take a cautionary approach to make sure people do not suffer symptoms whatsoever."

The draft guidelines for turbines are on exhibition until March.

Copyright 2015 ABC Online   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1404 days ago   Article ID# 1416172

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