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Still waiting on explanation for turbine collapse

People in the Dunmore area outside Limavady are waiting for an explanation for the sudden collapse of an 80-metre turbine in Co Tyrone.

The weather was mild with light winds at the time. According to reports, debris was embedded in the ground several hundred metres from the site of the turbine.

Given the recent severe storms and gale force winds, those living close to the Dunmore and Dunbeg wind farms, which have more than 20 turbines of a height of 120m, are worried about the prospect of such an accident occurring near them.

The turbine industry is keen to downplay these accidents and have come up with an expression “component liberation” for when a turbine fails and the blades fly off.

Is the Health and Safety Executive investigating this accident? If so, will it make its findings available to the public? Following turbine collapses in the UK, the HSE reports were available in redacted form and only on request, and sometimes only following Freedom of Information requests.

According to the Caithness Windfarm Monitoring Forum, there have been an average of 149 known accidents a year between 2009 and 2013 across the world – and the number of accidents is increasing in line with the number of turbines built. The forum suggests that many of the accidents are the result of use of faulty components, inadequate foundations, poor installation work and the use of the wrong materials.

We would call on local councils and planning departments to reconsider all applications for any future windfarms. We would also ask our elected representatives to make sure that the result of the investigation into the accident in Tyrone is published.