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Concerns after met mast falls down in high winds

A 60m-high met mast has failed its key task after coming down in strong winds.

Safety fears have been heightened among residents in the hamlet of Fenrother after the temporary structure toppled over through the night on Monday.

Energiekontor UK, which erected the mast to assess wind conditions in advance of an application for five 126.5m-high turbines at the site, has removed the shattered equipment and cables for investigation.

But the company said it has no plans to abandon the plot and will either repair the mast and put it back, or replace it with a new one.

However, opponents say they are worried about the risk to walkers and horse riders and claim the mast was a distraction to drivers on the nearby A697.

They have reported the incident to the Health and Safety Executive to investigate.

Dr James Lunn, who leads the Fight Fenrother and Longhorsley Windfarm Group, said: “The mast is an unsafe structure and it has fallen down. Cables could easily have gone over the path and injured people.

“We are not happy with the company just putting the same thing up again. It is supposed to be a structure to withstand strong winds and it has failed.

“If the company wants to put up another mast it should be made to apply for planning permission again and much greater safety assessments must be done.

“I had 15 people contact me in an hour to say the mast has gone, which shows how many people noticed it. It was an intrusive structure.”

Energiekontor UK project manager Sam Dewar said the mast has been removed after being damaged, but it did not cause a public risk.

He said: “There was no danger. It was in the middle of a field, there was no footpath near it, there weren’t any grazing cattle in the field and the distances to the boundaries are over 100m.”

The company has permission for 36 months for a mast. The mast which is put up will be of the same design and type to meet planning restrictions.

Mr Dewar said the mast was ‘substantial’ but was a ‘different kettle of fish’ to a turbine, which would be permanent.