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Wind turbine blades fly off in storm  

Credit:  By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk 7 January 2012 ~~

Fears over the safety of wind farms has been raised after blades were ripped off three turbines in winds of up to 112mph.

The blades, measuring almost 7ft, were blown across a busy road and could have hurt wildlife or caused damage to property as well as endangering life.

The huge turbine blades flew off three structures including one on the aptly-named Windmill Lane in Huddersfield, West Yorks.

The firm who made the damaged turbines in the Hepworth and Upper Cumberworth areas of the town has promised a full investigation.

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

Ryan Gill, of manufacturers Evoco, blamed the exceptionally strong winds for the damage.

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. The blades on the 50ft mast are over 6ft long and one flew across a road.

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.”

The smaller turbines are increasingly popular as the Government is offering households and communities subsidies to build the structures.

Both large and small turbines have caused problems recently in high winds.

A 330ft £2m turbine burst into flame in Ayrshire last month in storms although it was not even spinning and thought to be an electrical fault.

Another structure the same size came crashing down in Coldingham in the Scottish borders during the December storms.

However Fraser McLachlan, the chief executive of GCube, a wind turbine insurer, said no one has been injured by a turbine in the last decade, when most of the wind farms were built.

“It does happen but by the very nature of where wind farms are – they are usually in very sparsely populated spots and therefore the risk of damage to property or to people risk is very very low,” he said.

Renewable UK, the trade association for the wind industry, said incidents of turbines causing damage are very, very rare around the world.

Source:  By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk 7 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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