THREE landowners who no longer want wind turbines on their properties will be excluded from the Flyers Creek wind farm project if a modified proposal is accepted.
Infigen Energy is about to lodge an application with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to reduce the 42-turbine proposal between Orange and Blayney by five turbines.
Infigen senior development and government affairs manager Jonathan Upson said it was regrettable the landowners did not want to be part of the project.
“While we have every legal right to build wind farm infrastructure on their properties as a result of the 30-year lease agreements in place, we feel the best way forward is to try to accommodate the desires of the three landowners by pursuing a planning modification that would enable them to leave the wind farm project,” he said.
Infigen faces the possibility of losing development consent after September 13 unless it meets consent conditions, including proving it has access to properties.
However, Mr Upson insisted the modification was a separate issue and losing approval was “highly unlikely.”
Earlier this year two of the landowners, Robert Griffin and Alwyn Roweth testified at a Senate inquiry into wind turbines, alleging they were not given enough information on road locations and other infrastructure after signing the leases and Infigen had threatened legal action if they pulled out, despite the landowners’ lawyers advising Infigen’s failure to construct the project within five years made the contracts null and void.
However, Mr Upson said landowners were consulted in accordance with the contract, including a personal visit to Mr Griffin’s property, and made changes to internal road and turbine locations based on their suggestions.
Flyers Creek Awareness group spokeswoman Patina Schneider said removing the three properties would come as no relief to those landholders because the project would still proceed.
“They will be badly impacted not only by the noise, but the property values,” she said.
Landowner Kim Masters, who will host up to four turbines, hopes the modification will allow the project to progress.
“People oppose renewables for various reasons, but what’s your alternative? More coal mining?” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to visit wind farms overseas and they’re accepted over there.”