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Wind turbines ripped apart by gale force winds in Huddersfield  

Credit:  Huddersfield Daily Examiner, www.examiner.co.uk 6 January 2012 ~~

Huge turbine blades flew off three windmills as high winds lashed Huddersfield.

There were problems at Hepworth and at two farms in Upper Cumberworth.

But the Brighouse firm who made the damaged turbines has promised a full investigation.

A fourth windmill, in Holmfirth, has also been damaged in the gales of the past few days.

Concerned villagers in Hepworth warned: “Someone could have been killed,” after one of the blades was flung across a road.

Ryan Gill, of Brighouse-based manufacturers Evoco, told the Examiner it is not yet clear why the turbine malfunctioned and investigations are under way.

He blamed the exceptionally strong winds for the damage, adding that the wind turbines are certified under the industry Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

The Evoco website claims the 10kw turbine has been “specifically designed to reliably deliver high generation performance in harsh wind conditions”.

The windmill in Hepworth was ripped apart in the gale force winds on Wednesday night.

But villagers say the 15m high wind turbine at Upper Woodroyd Barn, off Hog Close Lane in Victoria, is particularly dangerous because it’s close to the road and a danger to the public.

The blades on the 12 metre mast are over two metres long and one flew across a road.

There were also problems with an identical turbine at Far Mount Farm, Intake Lane, Cumberworth.

And a turbine was also damaged at Drake Hill Farm in Cumberworth.

Frances Barnes, who has 10 acres of grazing land for horses close to the Hepworth turbine, said: “It is worrying.

“People objected to the plans when they first went in – not because it is a windmill but because it is so close to a busy road.

“It is frightening to think what may have happened had one of the blades flown into the road and hit a car, or indeed if the wind turbine had come down.”

Another local, who did not want to be named, said one of the turbine blades had ended up in a field at the other side of the road.

He said: “It’s very, very dangerous. There could have been a pedestrian or a car on the road and someone could have been killed.”

Another anonymous villager said: “A lot of complaints went in about that turbine when it was first planned.

“One of the main factors was that the blades of the turbine were horizontal to the road.

“It’s a terrible place to put one because it’s so near to the road.”

But farmer Peter Mitchell – who owns the turbine – told the Examiner he is confident engineers from suppliers Evoco will fix the problem.

He said: “I’m happy with how they’ve said they are going to rectify the problem and they are not going to pull out of any responsibility on this.

“They have always been very helpful and they are trying to sort it out.

“Obviously it’s not the ideal scenario but there was a fault with it.

“We’ve lived up here six years and this is the worst weather we’ve had. We’ve had slates blown off the roof.

“I’m obviously concerned but I’m confident the problem will be rectified.”

l London Fire Brigade attended a string of wind-related incidents across the capital, when gusts blew a wind turbine in Barking and scaffolding in Tavistock Square into “precarious positions”.

FIERCE gales peaked at 71.6mph in Huddersfield with the strongest gusts on record for 11 years.

And Examiner weatherman Paul Stevens said Wednesday was the wettest day the town has seen for the last 12 months, with 51mm of rainfall in just one day.

And he warned that the area will see more of the same storms over the next week.

Chaos was caused in the town, with trees crashing on top of caravans in Upper Cumberworth and sports pitches flooded.

Paul said: “The weather remains changeable and often unsettled for the next seven days – at least with something a little more settled for a time on Sunday before more rain comes in from the west.

“But at least there’s no indications of anything too cold or prolonged, except the odd hail and wintry shower mostly on the hills.”

Nationally, in Hertfordshire a woman and a 10-year-old boy were taken to hospital after a tree crashed on to their car as strong winds returned to sweep the country.

Gusts reaching highs of 87mph were recorded at Capel Curig in Wales at 2am.

In Huddersfield the gale force wind brought trees crashing down – one on top of a caravan at the junction of Dearne Dike Lane and Haddingley Lane, Upper Cumberworth. In Newsome, a tree smashed through a garden wall near the junction of Newsome Road and Dawson Road, while a large branch obstructed the pavement on Birkby Hall Road.

Birchencliffe Petrol Station on Halifax Road had to be cordoned off because of fears the storm-damaged canopy would cave in.

Meanwhile, football and rugby matches on council-managed pitches in Kirklees this weekend have been postponed after consultation with local leagues.

The pitches are saturated following heavy rain over the last few days and the pitches are in an unplayable condition and the decision has been taken to call off all matches.

Safety inspections will be made of the ground conditions by grounds maintenance staff and there will be an extra effort to prepare the pitches for future fixtures.

Source:  Huddersfield Daily Examiner, www.examiner.co.uk 6 January 2012

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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