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Collapsed mast was hit by protesters, claims owner  

The owners of a wind mast near South Molton are alleging sabotage after it collapsed on Sunday, August 19.

Vickram Mirchandani, managing director of Coronation Power, said he could not understand how the mast on Bickham Moor had fallen over.

He said: “This is sabotage. The mast is designed to withstand very high wind speeds and was put in only three months ago.

“It is not the case that the mast fell over on its own.”

Mr Mirchandani said he had yet to decide whether to call the police, but would be claiming insurance.

Bickham Moor, three miles from Rackenford, is the proposed site for four 125 metre wind turbines.

The collapsed mast, known as an anemometer, was set up to record wind speeds for a forthcoming planning application.

Caroline Harvey, secretary of the Two Moors campaign which is fighting the application, was angry about the allegations. She was “absolutely horrified” by what Mr Mirchandani had said.

She said: “While our campaign is opposed to the wind turbines, we propose legal means.

“We would not support anything illegal like this.”

She said the mast had broken around the middle – 30m up – and this was far too high for anyone to damage.

Mrs Harvey, a Batsworthy Cross farmer, aged 50, is concerned about the safety of the proposed turbines, which will be the tallest in North Devon.

At 125m high, with blades rotating at 100mph, she said nearby residents were “extremely concerned” about the proximity of the blades to buildings around it.

She said this was particularly the case as the anemometer mast had “folded in” on itself after only “very moderate” winds.

Mr Mirchandani wants to have the four turbines in place in 18 months time. Each one would have a potential capacity of 3MW, which together would generate enough electricity for about 6,700 homes – approximately 20% of Mid Devon’s domestic electricity consumption.

Each turbine would cost £1 million and pay for itself after three years, according to a spokesman for the British Wind Energy Association.

A spokesman for South Molton police said the matter had been reported and enquiries were being made.

By Rupert Sims

Western Morning News

30 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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