The Salt Creek wind farm near Mortlake has copped a blast for building its transmission lines to Terang in risky locations.
A road safety audit commissioned by both the Moyne and Corangamite councils found that several poles carrying the transmission lines were in “medium risk” locations.
The audit by Safe System Solution, a VicRoads accredited road safety auditor, recommended that safety barriers be built around the “medium risk” poles to improve road safety.
The audit was clear in its criticism of the transmission lines, saying it appeared “road safety was given only limited consideration during the planning and design.”
“The cumulative risks to the public are not insignificant and will remain for many decades,” the audit said.
The placement of poles for the transmission lines in road reserves provoked concern from many residents and the National Wind Farms Commissioner suggested the road safety audit.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan also slammed the lack of planning for the transmission lines, saying they were a road safety risk and “disgraceful.”
The transmission lines were built by Tilt Renewables that had not needed a council planning permit for their construction apart from ‘works in road reserve’ permits.
At Corangamite council’s December meeting, Cr Helen Durant did not hold back in castigating Tilt.
She said “it was beyond belief” that Tilt had ignored the safety risks posed by the location of some of the poles for the lines.
There had been “a lack of transparency from Tilt” and advice from VicRoads had not been acted on, she said.
The audit recommended safety barriers be placed around four poles on The Sisters-Noorat Road and that a guard fence around a pole on Le Couteur Road be improved.
It also suggested VicRoads introduce measures to reduce the likelihood of vehicles running off the road and hitting a pole near the intersection of the Terang-Mortlake and Riley roads.
Cr Durant said the council should ask Tilt in the firmest manner to do the work recommended in the safety audit and at no cost to the council.
The council adopted her call and also moved to refer the road safety audit to the National Wind Farm Commissioner to consider for further wind farm proposals.
It also decided to refer the audit report to state planning minister Richard Wynne “to inform future decisions on planning policy.”
Clayton Delmarter from Tilt Renewables said it had received a copy of the road safety audit from the Moyne Shire Council.
“We have been through the document as provided by the council and look forward to discussing it with the council and the transmission line owner, Ausnet Services, in the new year,” Mr Delmarter said.
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