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Danger in the wind: How energy companies are playing with our lives  

Author:  | Regulations, Safety, U.K.

The growing danger to the public from wind turbine accidents has been highlighted in a new report by the campaign group 4Villages. The wind industry consistently plays down health and safety and, in the rush to meet government renewable energy targets, is largely unregulated, it is claimed.

There has been an increasing number of accidents worldwide involving giant turbines catching fire, losing propeller parts or shedding large lumps of ice. In an incident earlier this month in Whittlesey, Peterborough, residents and shoppers narrowly avoided death and injury when, for about four hours, huge lumps of ice some two feet long crashed onto homes, gardens and a shopping car park. MP for Cambridgeshire North East MP Malcolm Moss said the turbine should remain closed until a new risk assessment could be made, as the problem could also have national implications.

The 4Villages report DANGER IN THE WIND: How energy companies are playing with our lives claims that:

  • There is NO proper regulation of health and safety in the wind industry from manufacture to installation and operation.
  • The pressure to put up onshore turbines is encouraging HIGH-RISK installations by inexperienced firms.
  • Unlike any other large sector, for example the aviation industry, wind turbine developers have been allowed to operate outside specific standards. There is CONFUSION between central government, local councils and the wind industry as to who is responsible and accountable for safety.

One of the authors of the report Sheila Moss argues that action must be taken before it is too late. “There are huge financial incentives for energy companies and there’s government pressure to put up turbines as fast as possible. Without regulation, and a buffer zone between these huge moving structures and where people live, work and walk, we believe that serious accidents are inevitable,” says Ms Moss. “Our report is asking a simple question. Who is accountable for the safety of the public in these situations? No one in government or the industry seems to know the answer.”

Copies of the 4Villages report have been sent to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, South Norfolk Council and the British Wind Energy Association.

For further information contact: Lucy Melrose – 01379 741925 or 07947 831705

December 2008

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

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