May 11, 2012

Council suspends operation of school wind turbines

The Northern Times, 9 May 2012

Highland Council has taken immediate action to temporarily suspend operations of wind turbine installations at 16 school sites – including Dornoch Academy, Rosehall Primary and Stoer Primary.

Following enquiries from councillors and members of the public, The Highland Council commissioned the Building Research Establishment, an independent organisation, to evaluate all wind turbine installations on or adjacent to school sites.

Based on initial feedback from BRE, the council have decided to close down the turbinesuntil the risks are fully assessed and any additional measures deemed necessary are undertaken.

The turbines are located at three secondary schools – Culloden Academy, Inverness; Dornoch Academy and Gairloch Academy and 13 primary schools, Bower Primary School; Crossroads Primary School; Castletown Primary School; Pultneytown Primary, Wick; North Primary, Wick; South Primary, Wick; Scoraig Primary, Wester Ross; Inver Primary, Tain; Rosehall Primary, Sutherland; Stoer Primary, Sutherland; Acharacle Primary, Lochaber; Holm Primary, Inverness; Eigg Primary, Small Isles.

Steve Barron, Depute Chief Executive and Director of Housing and Property, said: “There has been a great deal of interest and some concern about the planning and installation of wind turbines on school sites. Following representations from elected members and the public, the council commenced a review of the risk assessment process and the installations of wind turbines at council schools. That review will focus on reports from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) which will provide independent assessments for each school site.

“Based on initial feedback from BRE and taking account of the council’s own enhanced risk assessment tool, the decision has been taken to suspend operation of the turbines which are sited in or adjacent to school sites. This is a precautionary measure which will allow time for proper consideration of the findings of the BRE reports when we receive them over the next few weeks.

“The council takes the issue of safety within schools very seriously and where additional measures are deemed necessary these will be planned and undertaken in consultation with Head Teachers and the council’s Health and Safety team.

“The BRE reports will, when we receive them, be shared with Council Members, Head Teachers, Parent Councils and published on the council’s website.

“It is important to note the continued commitment of the council to reducing carbon emissions and energy costs through the use of renewable energy technologies. The deployment of wind turbines forms an important part of our plans to meet challenging national targets for carbon reduction. Following the proper assessment of risks, selection of appropriate locations and deployment of protective measures we intend to continue with our turbine programme.”

More on this story in tomorrow’s Northern Times.

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