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Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell says no more wind turbines must be built in Huddersfield until public safety guaranteed  

Credit:  Huddersfield Daily Examiner, www.examiner.co.uk 9 January 2012 ~~

An MP today demanded: Stop building wind turbines until we know they are safe.

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell wants a halt called to turbine plans in the wake of serious doubts over their safety.

The Tory MP has spoken out after huge turbine blades flew off three windmills when gales hit Huddersfield last week.

There were problems at Hepworth and at two farms in Upper Cumberworth where the blades – over two metres long – were ripped off the turbines.

But Evoco, the Brighouse company which put up the turbines, said everything possible was being done to find out why the machines broke.

Mr Reevell said: “People could have been killed, particularly considering the location of the turbines near busy roads.

“We need to ensure that wind turbines are safe before they are built. Turbines must be able to withstand any weather we get in the area – including the gale force winds which we had on Wednesday night and during the day on Thursday.

“We should not wait until a blade falls on a car before investigations into the wind turbines are launched.

“As it is clear now that some wind turbines are not safe, there must be no new wind turbines built and stringent tests carried out on ones that are already on site and if there is a risk to public safety, they must be dismantled.”

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

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.

Holme Valley South councillor Nigel Patrick has also called for a full investigation into wind turbine safety.

He said: “All it takes is for the wind speed to reach about 70 mph – which is not extreme for that location.

“These turbines are not strong enough to withstand the conditions.

“How many times do they have to fail before the owners say enough is enough?

“Why are planners allowing them to be built so close to public roads? Health and safety is a material consideration in planning, and despite my raising concerns with planners at Kirklees about the dangers, permission is still being given to build them close to public areas and dwellings.”

Evoco Energy – which manufactures the windmills – has released a statement on its website.

The company said: “Health and safety issues are of primary importance to us, and we work to rigorous standards to maintain our excellent record.

“Due to the forecasts of exceptionally strong winds, and following a previous recent problem with a rotational bearing, we had asked all of our customers to temporarily apply the brakes to their turbines to prevent serious damage while we implemented measures to address the problem.

“Although a brake request had been issued, three incidents occurred during winds of up to 111 miles per hour. In each case, a turbine lost blades, due to the bearing issue for which we had instructed the turbines to be shut down.

“In each case the blades landed within the boundary of the turbine owner’s property, although it appears that in one case, the hurricane force winds subsequently blew blades onto neighbouring property on the opposite side of a minor rural road.

“We are now investigating why some of our customers’ turbines were spinning in high winds, despite the brakes being applied.”

The company said the majority of their turbines had operated without any problems and they had begun working on making modifications to the product to “reduce the failure rate to zero”.

“In the meantime, as a responsible operator, we have taken the precaution of keeping our turbine fleet on brake until the modifications are performed. We are compensating our customers for any loss of income.”

Source:  Huddersfield Daily Examiner, www.examiner.co.uk 9 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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