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Vandals damage wind towers


Jane Holroyd

Vandals have damaged two $50,000 towers on the site of a proposed wind farm in Victoria’s south east.

The two wind monitoring towers, each about 50 metres tall, were set up in remote farmland between Walkerville and Tarwin Lower in South Gippsland, where company Wind Power has applied to build 52 wind turbines.

The towers, which have been monitoring the site since 2003, are used to measure wind speeds so that future wind turbines are erected in the best, or windiest location.

Senior Constable Andrew Mitcham from Victoria Police said the towers were worth about $50,000 each.

“The towers are very narrow and are held up using guide wires,” he said.

He said the vandals had cut through the guide wires some time in the past week.

Wind Power director Andrew Newbold, whose company is behind the $220 million project, said it was disappointing vandals would attack the expensive equipment but didn’t think locals who opposed the project were behind the vandalism.

“You would like to think that this sort of thing wouldn’t occur because of that,” he said.

The proposed Bald Hills wind farm became the centre of much controversy in April when Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell overturned a Victorian Government decision to grant Wind Power the go-ahead to build it.

Mr Campbell claimed the wind farm would put at further risk the endangered orange-bellied parrot.

That decision is now being reviewed in the Federal Court, while Wind Power is preparing new plans for the wind farm.

The proposed wind farm has also been the target of much protest from South Gippsland locals who fear the wind turbines would be noisy and unsightly.

theage.com.au, with AAP