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Dundonnell wind farm a ‘death trap’ for birds

A Darlington farmer has warned the $500 million Dundonnell wind farm could become a death trap for hundreds of wetland birds.

Outspoken wind farm opponent Hamish Cumming said environmental studies had ignored an isolated population of brolgas nesting in the path of up to 89 planned turbines.

Last month Planning Minister Matthew Guy ordered an environmental effects statement (EES) be carried out on the site to see if turbine blades would harm the yellow-bellied sheath-tailed bat.

But Mr Cumming, whose property lies five kilometres away from the designated land, told The Standard yesterday the wind farm would decimate flocks of brolgas and Latham’s snipe.

“If they do the study properly the wind farm cannot go ahead,” Mr Cumming warned.

“There’s hundreds of them and no one has done a survey. One person has just gone out there and done a count.”

He said snipe nest throughout the area between October and April, while dry weather had kept 100 brolgas permanently nested nearby.

He labelled as misleading comments made by Greens MP Greg Barber, who called the EES a stalling attempt by the planning minister.

Mr Cumming previously opposed the now defunct Mortlake east wind farm on similar grounds.

New Zealand-based developer NewEn Power responded to the EES announcement yesterday, revealing it would set back the project.

“The additional information we have to compile for the EES will take some time and has the potential to impact our projected timelines by many months,” director Ernst Weyhausen said

“While we had undertaken substantive studies in regard to flora and fauna, it appears that there is always some more work that could be done.”

Mr Weyhausen said landowners in Dundonnell had instigated the project in 2008, hoping to bring the turbines to their properties.

He said the project could employ up to 180 people during the construction phase.