Solar opposition

February 02, 2018

A total of 35 objections have been received to the development of solar farms at local properties ‘Tarleigh Park’ and ‘Currawarra’ by RES Australia Pty Ltd.

Twenty of the objections were submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment against the ‘Tarleigh Park’ project, and 15 for ‘Currawarra’.

Another three submissions were received for the ‘Tarleigh Park’ park project as ‘‘comment’’.

No submissions supporting the project were recorded by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Most of the objections received through the submissions process highlighted issues about using prime irrigated land, instead of dryland, for the solar farms.

In one of the submissions published on the department’s website, ‘Currawarra’ neighbour Emily Leech questioned the use of productive land for the development.

She also raised concerns about the impact it could have on the value of neighboring properties.

‘‘Whilst I am no way against solar farms and their benefits, I have some issues with the proposed development,’’ her objection read.

‘‘My main concern is why they would choose such valuable irrigation land to construct the solar farm.

‘‘The proposed land has a far more productive use, which has been specifically developed for irrigation purposes including bores, lateral irrigator and hectares of lasered land.

‘‘I cannot understand why not only efficient irrigation land but also highly valuable land has been chosen for this development.

‘‘On a personal level I am concerned with the decrease in potential marketability and value of our land and the impact on quiet enjoyment of our land, and our neighbours’ land.

‘‘There are many neighbouring homes in close vicinity to the proposed development site and I urge the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to reconsider this site.’’

Submitting an objection for the ‘Tarleigh Park’ project, Gavin Mullens’ published submission lists concerns about the impact the new development would have on existing infrastructure and farming operations.

‘‘The infrastructure connecting the proposed site to the main road is not built to cope with a large volume of heavy traffic. It is not an all weather road. A high volume of heavy vehicles will destroy the road and become an accident waiting to happen,’’ he said in the submission.

‘‘We also object to the economic loss to the area. The proposed site is a large expanse of high value farmland that has had farming infrastructure added to it using government subsidies to improve water management.

‘‘As farmland, it could be managed well to produce crops or be used for grazing. both of which return an annual economic benefit to the area through the use of services and the sale and transport of the product. By turning this land into a solar farm the annual economic benefits to the area stop.’’

RES Australia project development manager Mike Whitbread said the next stage in the process is for RES is to produce a response to the submissions document for each project ‘‘addressing the issues raised’’.

‘‘Much as we have tried to address concerns raised during the consultation process — including running two well attended exhibitions in September, where we had a huge amount of information on both proposals and the full development team to answer questions — there are always a wide range of views and any significant development proposal is unlikely to receive 100 per cent support,’’ he said.

‘‘We will be submitting our response documents to the Department of Planning and Environment during the next couple of months, once complete.

‘‘They will then make their assessments and determinations.’’

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