Homeowners who live next to windfarms are growing increasingly concerned for their safety following a number of ‘frightening’ incidents which, they claim, put lives at risk.
A wind turbine in west Cork caught fire last month, casting its flaming blades up to 100m from its base and igniting nearby forestry.
Kealkil windfarm, which is also known as Cappaboy Beg wind farm, caught fire on June 19. No explanation has yet been provided for the cause of the fire.
It took eight men from Bantry Fire Brigade several hours to tackle the blaze as it raged on a mountainside.
Local man Con Lehane told the Irish Daily Mail that several houses are located just one mile from the blaze location. Residents now worry about ‘being burned out of it’, he said.
Mr Lehane said planning permission for a wind farm on another nearby mountainside site, which is surround by forestry, was pending. If a proposed wind turbine at the proposed site were to catch fire, he said, ‘nothing will stop it.’
Neil Lucey, 46, who lives with his wife and three children within a mile-and-a-half of the turbine, said that ‘if they [fires] get going here, it’s very much open territory so there’s no stopping them.
‘Our land would be in a danger zone.’
Last year, the blade of a wind turbine in Co. Donegal became detached in high winds. Carol Duddy, from Corkermore, Co. Donegal, recalled the episode as ‘very scary’.
‘We were lucky it broke half wayup and just fell,’ she added. ‘If the blade had been rotating at the speed they rotate at…’
Ms Duddy referred to an earlier incident in Ardara, Co. Donegal, where a turbine toppled over completely in high winds. ‘They were finding pieces of that for miles around it.
‘‘Never mind the house, but if anything happened to the kids that would be my main concern,’ Ms Duddy added.
Henry Fingleton, a spokesman for pressure group People Over Wind, said the current minimum distance between turbines and homes of 500 metres is ‘unsafe’.
An owner of the Cappaboy Beg windfarm in Cork, Tim Buckley, said there was an investigation underway but he did not know when there would be an outcome.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Wind Energy Association said there ‘ was an issue’ at the Cappaboy windfarm.
It had been ‘dealt with and didn’t result in any injuries.’
The spokeswoman added: ‘In 2012 there were something like 2,900 fires in cars – but nobody is calling for cars to come off the roads or anything like that.’
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