A giant wind turbine sparked major safety fears yesterday when it was smashed by . . . the WIND.
A huge propeller broke off the 190ft turbine close to a busy motorway link road.
The 30ft blade cracked when the turbine was hit by strong gusts just two months after it began operating.
Engineers were called in but could only let the propeller drop to the ground.
Last night there were fears the incident could hit the Government’s £100billion plan to build 7,000 wind turbines – providing a third of Britain’s electricity – by 2020.
The wrecked turbine, costing tens of thousands of pounds, is one of two at a Sheffield University research unit near the city’s Parkway link to the M1.
The university said a failsafe device shut down the turbine as soon as the crack developed.
A spokeswoman said: “On-site security identified this via monitoring systems. The turbine providers and police were informed immediately, allowing the area to be made safe.
“A blade was allowed to fall to the ground in a controlled manner, supervised by engineers. Experts are now deciding what action needs to be taken.
“We apologise for any disruption. Safety is always paramount.”
Dad-of-two Martin Oldfield, 46, who lives 600 yards from the turbines in Catcliffe, said: “It raises questions about how safe these things are.
“This turbine is next to a busy roundabout and could have caused a serious accident. The wind was high but it gets stronger during winter gales.
“It makes you wonder if they’ve built these things without thinking of the consequences.”
The turbines have already been blamed for wrecking locals’ TV signals.
By Alastair Taylor