A controversial 115ft wind turbine has collapsed after being hit by heavy winds.
The £250,000 tower, which stood as tall as a ten storey building, was hit by gale force gusts of 50mph which caused the blades to spin out of control.
The structure then caught fire and collapsed at a farm in Bradworth, Devon, leaving a “mangled, blackened wreck with melted blades”.
Margaret Coles, Chairwoman of Bradworthy District Council, said hail storms and strong winds have hit the area and the turbine, installed just three years ago, simply could not withstand the wind.
“The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind and as we are a very windy part of the country they [the energy company] have egg on their face,” she said. “There are concerns about safety.”
The Bradworthy Parish Council, who opposed the turbine, expressed concern that there was “nothing exceptional” in the speed of the winds.
Installed by renewable energy company Dulas it was supposed to have a life expectancy of 25 years.
They noted that “wind speeds are part of our root-cause investigation”.
It was erected in July 2010 despite fierce opposition from local residents, who said it would be a noise and visual nuisance.
Councillor Keith Tomlin said: “We are relieved that no one was injured. But had this happened in daytime there was a chance of serious injury to workers on the farm where it was located or to the public on the road nearby.
“Of greater concern is that Torridge District Council have recently approved the erection of a second turbine of the same size and manufacture at this location that would have been closer to the public road.”
Mrs Coles said energy companies have been targeting the area, with around 25 turbines put up in the last few years.
“These companies are trying to cover what was once a remote rural area with concrete.”
The Endurance Wind Power E-3120 50kW device was the first model of its kind to be erected in the UK when it was installed at East Ash Farm in Bradworthy.
A spokesman for Wales-based firm Dulas said the generator had a five-year warranty, adding: “We can reassure the local community that due to the isolated location of the turbine, no one was put at risk and we are currently working hard to establish the precise cause of the incident.
“Our technical team is one of the most experienced in the UK. They are working alongside the turbine manufacturer to conduct a full root-cause analysis investigation. We will continue to keep communication open and provide updates as and when we have further information.”
Bob Barfoot, North Devon chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, described is as a “mangled, blackened wreck with melted blades”.
He added: “The blades would have rotated beyond the allowable maximum speed and destroyed the whole turbine.”
The owners of East Ash Farm have recently been granted planning permission by Torridge District Council to erect a second device.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding