- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Safety fears after wind turbine bursts into flames near Todmorden homes

Neighbours are demanding safety assurances after a wind turbine burst into flames near their homes on a stretch of West Yorkshire moorland.

Todmorden and Bacup firefighters were called out when a turbine at Todmorden caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning, June 3.

Neighbours are concerned that if a dry spell had preceded the fire, a blaze could have threatened their homes.

Wildlife was also put at risk in the fire.

Many neighbours have campaigned against more wind turbines proposed for the moorland.

Resident Steve Bottomley said: “The concern now is that if the moor was tinder dry and there was bits of debris flying, we could potentially have a major fire hazard, which would be catastrophic not just for our land and property but also the wildlife.

“Surely they must have fire detecting equipment? It just looks like a write off.”

Mike Harrison, of Glenmont Partners who own the turbine site, said engineers would be examining the area and that it would not be back in use until it was safe.

He said: “We hope within the next couple of weeks to get the initial reaction.

“Part of the investigation is asking ‘can the rest of the site get up and running once this turbine is isolated?’

“There are regulations as to what we can and can’t do in terms of turning it back on and we won’t do that until it is safe to do so.”

Mr Harrison stressed wind turbine fires were “very rare” and that the company wanted to be good neighbours.

The site owners are now looking at ways to minimise the effects of the fire.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire said the safest way of dealing with the fire was to tackle it defensively, and put crews on stand by through the night as the fire burned out.

Checks were put on the weather to see whether the wind direction would change, affecting the fire, but this was not deemed hazardous or likely to change.

Dom Furby, from West Yorkshire Fire, said: “In the event of a fire on the moorland we have the specialist equipment and capabilities to deal with it quickly.

“This particular incident was very unusual and crews remained at the scene for a number of hours, working closely with the site managers to eliminate any danger to the public or risk of the fire spreading.

“Obviously in the summer time, when scrubland is dryer, the risk of a moorland Fire increases and this is why we ask people to be vigilant.

“Typically the moorland fires we do see are caused by human activity such as careless use of cigarettes and barbecues.

“It is important that any moorland fire is reported to the fire service as soon as it is spotted.”

The burned out wind turbine on Todmorden Moor Picture by Ian Lever

The burned out wind turbine on Todmorden Moor Picture by Ian Lever