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Dispute over wind farms and property prices -

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ELEANOR HALL: Property law specialists say that land holders who live near wind farms and want to
sell their properties, receive very little protection from existing laws.

Some landowners say wind turbines damage their livelihoods and lifestyles.

But wind farm operators say the clean power operations do not reduce the value of neighbouring

Bronwyn Herbert has our report.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Wind farms might help hold the key for a cleaner energy future, but there is a
darker side.

Some land owners who live near wind farms claim the turbines are not only health hazards and spoil
the view but devalue the land.

HUMPHREY PRICE-JONES: Property values being eroded, their lifestyle being completely destroyed and
the very reason they live where they live being destroyed and of course, if they don't want to live
there any longer, they can't sell the places because very few people want to live in some vast
industrial estate.

Whereas the people who do live there, live there because of their appreciation of the landscape and
the general rural amenity.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Humphrey Price-Jones is a resident of Crookwell in the southern tablelands of New
South Wales.

A wind farm of 74 turbines has been approved to be built next to his property.

HUMPHREY PRICE-JONES: If these things are built then I believe there is a great need for the people
who are going to be inconvenienced to be compensated in some way or another.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Do you know people who would like to sell their land or have the opportunity for
the acquisition by the Government?

HUMPHREY PRICE-JONES: I think there are a number, well yes I do and there are a number of people
living in close proximity to the so-called Gullen Range wind turbine development. I think some of
them would jump at that chance as long as it was not a compulsory purchase and as long as they were
pre-wind turbine market value.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Michael Pickering a senior solicitor with LAC Lawyers and specialises in property
law. He says it's a considerable issue that there's not the legal processes in place for land to be

MICHAEL PICKERING: There are health concerns for the neighbouring landowners, as well as the
environmental concerns. It raises similar issues to the land acquisition order, the concerns that
landowners had with the desalination plant.

And also in times past with the owners of land over which the high voltage power transmission lines
were directed.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Michael Pickering says existing laws make it very difficult for landowners to
secure compensation.

MICHAEL PICKERING: The initiative is given to the state government organisations rather than to the
affected landowner. There is no policy whereby the landowner can commence that compulsory
acquisition process themselves.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Should that be changed?

MICHAEL PICKERING: Um, well I think it would because it might otherwise prevent what could be quite
extensive litigation which could end up quashing a minister's decision.

Or at least, perhaps receiving an injunction from a court which could delay government processes
which are quite important to the future of the state.

BRONWYN HERBERT: There's more than 40 wind farms in Australia, and many more in the pipeline.

Multinational company Pamada is behind the Kyoto Energy Park - a wind farm project near Scone in
New South Wales.

Mark Dixon is the project manager. He says international research shows no clear link that wind
turbines devalue land.

MARK DIXON: The general consensus was that there was no negative link from our research between
wind farms and devaluation of property and it went into to look at, you know what would be the
issues if there was a link.

BRONWYN HERBERT: With the Federal Government's green light to source 20 per cent of Australia's
energy by renewable sources by 2020 there is likely to be more wrangles over wind farms in future

ELEANOR HALL: Bronwyn Herbert reporting.