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Britain wasted £250,000 on failed wind farm project in South Pacific  

Credit:  By Hayley Dixon | 8 April 2013 | www.telegraph.co.uk ~~

The £1.7million scheme on the Pitcairn Islands’ was aborted after Australian contractors took the money but failed to build any turbines.

By the time it was cancelled the plans for the tiny island, made famous by the Mutiny on the Bounty, had already slipped three years behind schedule and the predicted costs had doubled.

In a report the Department for International Development (DfID) admitted that they failed to “rigorously manage” the green energy plans.

Pitcairn Island – a two-mile long rocky outcrop in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – is most famous as the refuge of the mutineers from HMAV Bounty.

The sailors settled there in 1790 to escape the death penalty and many of the residents can trace their heritage back to the mutinous crew.

It is one of the least populous jurisdictions in the world and relies on British aid for much of its income, receiving around £2.4million a year from taxpayers – more than £43,000 per person.

DfID spent £265,213 on the wind farm project, which began in September 2006 with contractors engaged the following year, and its website now classes the project as “complete”.

The cost included chartering a ship to take equipment to the islands, a move which later had to be cancelled as the shipment was not ready, the Daily Mail reported.

Eventually officials abandoned the scheme – which would have cost the equivalent of £31,000 per head.

They are now considering a solar-powered generator, and if the project is approved the total cost of the island’s electricity supply will be even higher.

The island is still a British Overseas Territory, meaning it takes priority from the aid budget under laws set down in the UN Charter.

The Government has been widely criticised for protecting the aid budget whilst enforcing harsh austerity measures at home.

A DfID spokesperson said: “Where contracts are not good value for money and are not being properly delivered, HMG will take action to protect taxpayer money. This contract was signed in 2007 and by October 2010 was behind schedule. It was formally terminated in March 2011.

“The UK Government will be working with the Pitcairn Island Government to assess the current and future energy needs, including green options such as solar power.”

Robert Oxley, from the Tax-Payers’ Alliance, said: “It’s frankly typical of DfID to waste so much taxpayers’ money on a project that delivers so little.”

He claimed that by setting a target for the amount of aid money spent there is “little incentive for officials to deliver value for taxpayers’ money”, adding: “No one has been held to account for the repeated blunders over this project.”

Source:  By Hayley Dixon | 8 April 2013 | www.telegraph.co.uk

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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