Neighbour threatens to sue wind turbine hosts

A Collector farmer threatens to sue neighbors if they lease their properties for wind turbines.

Tony Hodgson sent 8 letters to his neighbours who are likely to host the turbines, warning them that he would sue them for the adverse affects upon his property. Hodgson, who is president of anti-wind farm group Friends of Collector, will be closely located to the 63 turbines that are proposed by RATCH Australia  for the Collector area, approximately 40 minutes north of Canberra.

Sub station of the Gullen Range wind farm. People in the Collector region may soon be seeing a wind farm in their own region
Sub station of the Gullen Range wind farm. People in the Collector region may soon be seeing a wind farm in their own region

Hodgson’s lawyers advised him that there was substantial precedent to sue people for accepting turbines onto their properties due to potential negative effects upon neighboring properties.

The letters outlined how if the recipients were to accept the development, they could be liable for any damages and personal injury that may ensue. The letters also warned that consent for the development was not a defense against legal action.

However, Gary Poile, a potential turbine host, dismissed the letters as bullying tactics. He is confident that  RATCH Australia will deal with the legal threats, despite the fact that they are directed at landholders, rather than the company itself.

Karen, a local, commented that: “there seems to be next to no consideration of people living on properties next to turbines. Maybe suing is one of the only ways to draw attention to the issue”.

This development comes as a recent report discovered that properties located near wind farms can potentially lose up to 60% of their value. The 8 letters are the second batch in two years sent to Hodgson’s neighbors. He has so far received no response from any of the recipients.

Collector wind farm was recommended for approval by the NSW Department of Planning in September this year. If approved, it will join a growing number of other wind farms in the region, including ones at Gullen Range, Gunning and Crookwell. A recent report predicted there may soon be as many as 3000 wind turbines within a 90 km radius of Goulburn.


3 thoughts on “Neighbour threatens to sue wind turbine hosts”

  1. Hello Ainsley
    I work in the wind in the wind industry and have stumbled across your blog. By coincidence I have visited Charley Barber at his property in Bannister and I was the project manager for the development approval for the Collector Wind Farm, so am very familiar with that project. I am also working with Peter Reardon on the reissue of his report. So there are a fair few overlaps with your blog posts herein.

    Below I’ve included an extract from another blog that references Peter Reardon’s report. you might also be interested in scrutinising the material on health here

    Good luck with your studies.

    Nick Valentine

    “One Australian study by a property appraiser, Peter Reardon, follows in the footsteps of weak anecdotal assessments in Canada and the USA, looking at three sales near wind farms and pairing them with properties elsewhere. It has the typical weaknesses of poor methodology and rigour, but a statement from a purchaser of one of the two properties which apparently suffered property value impacts came into my hands via a correspondent. It’s worth looking at what they say about the property that they purchased. Netting it out, it was grossly overpriced for reasons having nothing to do with the nearby wind farm, and everything to do with the property itself.

    ‘As you know the property had been on the market since September 2010 at no time did we see it advertised at $320,000

    We spoke to the agent when it was priced at $299,000 which we thought was grossly over valued even for a lifestyle block let alone a grazing block, having as you stated not only one but two 330KV lines transversing the block along with the associated easement restrictions (some 50 double sided pages of conditions and and terms), it is divided by the duel carriage Hume Higway and two truck parking bays (north& south), with the associated noise and litter problems, it has no 240V power access on the block (and we know what that costs). That’s the lifestyle detractions of the block.

    Now Grazing- the block has over 30% water logging and drainage problems, covering both sides of the highway-in fact many times we saw the agents vehicle parked on the edge of the road- presumably inspections by “foot” The block had poor boundary fencing on the southern side, the carrying capacity of the block is app. 2.5 DSE per Ha.

    We therefore came to the value of $205,000 (2500 per Ha.) This was allowing some $8000 for “proximity” to the Highway- having purchased her brother’s property some 12 months before at app. $2400Ha.(carrying capacity of6 DSE per Ha.) (no agent involved in this transaction! )

    We had to increase this offer by some $20,000 to secure this deal. I think Real Estate Agents are no different in the country to their city cousins- raising unrealistic expectations of the value of property especially in a difficult market. It would seem that people want sub-division prices for undeveloped land, not allowing for development and approval costs

    Having also sold the mentioned 80Ha block on the Collector Rd we know the demands of financing lifestyle blocks in recent years. This block does have 240V power available as per Council Sub-division regulation.’ ”

    1. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it! It’s definitely interesting to read another perspective. I think wind farms are a highly complicated issue that deserve a lot more coverage from both sides than what they get. I hope that in the future we will see a lot more community awareness and research into the issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s