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New risk tests  

Energy firm E.on has promised a new risk assessment of the Robin Rigg sandbank in the Solway Firth following a construction rig collapse a fortnight ago.

The promise has been made to Workington MP Tony Cunningham, who wants public reassurance that the seabed under the sandbank is stable enough to eventually support 60 420ft wind turbines.

All work has been halted on the site of Britain’s biggest offshore windfarm, seven miles off the coast of Maryport, while an accident investigation continues into why a platform tipped over when a jack-leg crunched through the seabed.

The Health and Safety Executive is involved.

Thirty eight contractors were lifted off by crane unhurt, in the biggest scramble of emergency services in the Solway Firth in years.

Mr Cunningham was promised the new survey by E.on’s senior project manager Ian Johnson.

Mr Cunningham said: ““The company is at pains to point out that the rig which tipped was standing on the surface of the seabed, whereas the supports on which the turbine towers will stand will be sunk to a depth of 33 to 50 metres below the seabed.”

Investigators have already ruled out a theory that the leg went through the remains of the English-registered cargo vessel Grayfield, which was wrecked on Robin Rigg in November 1904 on its way to Maryport.

A spokeswoman for E.on said: “The site is now purely an accident investigation site and no time scale has been put on this investigation. The leg which went in to the seabed is still there.

“The area of the seabed had been thoroughly surveyed and tested. Safety is our number one priority.”

News & Star

1 October 2007

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