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Inquiry after second wind turbine topples in Westcountry

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 01, 2013

Comments (23)

Safety concerns have been raised over wind turbines and a fresh investigation has now been launched after a second tower was said to have been toppled during high winds in Cornwall.

Investigations continued into how a 111ft (34m) turbine crashed to the ground on farm land in Bradworthy, in Devon, less than three years after it was commissioned.

Rumours circulated around the local community that the East Ash Farm equipment had been sabotaged by protesters amid claims by a parish councillor that bolts were missing from the structure.

However, no evidence of this has been confirmed.

In North Cornwall, a smaller 60ft (18m) tower also sited on a farm was said to be "lying crumpled on the ground", prompting the manufacturers to launch a separate inquiry into the causes.

In the House of Commons yesterday, Energy Secretary Ed Davey warned wind farm operators to make sure their equipment is safe.

In response to a question, Mr Davey said: "Clearly, people who develop and run and maintain wind farms, as with any sort of industrial installation, have to make sure that they are fit and aren't a danger to the public.

"Otherwise various authorities will come down on them and they will find themselves liable."

The turbine at East Ash Farm, collapsed in the early hours of Sunday and both the installers of the turbine Dulas Ltd and the Health and Safety Executive have confirmed investigations are under way.

Margaret Coles, spokesman for Bradworthy parish council, fuelled speculation by claiming the turbine's bolts had "gone".

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen South West, said any failure was "a matter for concern".

"The industry has got a good safety record but they need to react in the right way, learn lessons and offer free checks on turbines," he added.

It has now emerged that one of two 11kW Gaia turbines installed at Winsdon Farm North Petherwin – the family farm of Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor Adam Paynter – was badly damaged during the recent bad weather.

Local resident, Hilary Vincent, said the turbine was blown down on Wednesday afternoon.

"I had been watching it for a few days as the blades were stationery – by 3pm it was not visible and is lying crumpled on the ground," she added.

A spokesman for Gaia-Wind confirmed the collapse, adding: "There has been an incident where a turbine tower has been damaged.

"No other injury or damage is involved and we are investigating the cause. The turbine is on private, rural property – it is a high quality, well-installed turbine with an outstanding track record for safety and reliability."

Mr Paynter was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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  • johndavies  |  February 22 2013, 5:02PM

    I suppose it is not totally surprising that wind turbines should collapse - look at the leverage and vibrations caused by that huge turning mass on the top of the towers - any slight problem with poor quality bolts or foundations are no doubt easily exacerbated. In fact, it is amazing that they stand up as long as they do!! John's wife interfering again!

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  • crisppusa  |  February 11 2013, 4:48AM

    Another day & another lie from the AGWarmers. SWindle Farms ..... $Millions in spending and waste for towers that produce any electricity 30% of the time {in the best location}

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  • letigre  |  February 07 2013, 6:08PM

    You only have to look at turbines safety record on say 'wind byte' to see that this sort of thing isn't that unusual. A massive cover up by the industry means developers and probably councils are unaware of the real situation http://tinyurl.com/crvmy6w

    |   4
  • Tigger2  |  February 04 2013, 1:51AM

    Planning application PA12/11885 for a massive turbine above the hamlet of New Mills, Ladock in Cornwall is worrying in light of these recent turbine collapses, its' siting on a slope which goes down towards the hamlet in the region of 450 to 550 metres from peoples homes!"

    |   6
  • Sowester  |  February 03 2013, 11:31AM

    Hooray! May they all topple, as soon as possible.

    |   4
  • IanMacKinlay  |  February 02 2013, 10:39PM

    Look at these folks. A wind turbine actually disintegrating before your eyes, as it was filmed in Denmark. http://tinyurl.com/387dnp http://tinyurl.com/3xt5t5

    |   6
  • First Impressions  |  February 01 2013, 5:48PM

    by John Allman Friday, February 01 2013, 12:40PM . ""Otherwise various authorities will come down on them" [Energy Secretary Ed Davey] What a wasted opportunity. Mr Davey could have said, "Otherwise they may be shocked when the power that is currently charged with the responsibility comes down on them." There may be keen media interest in wind power generation at the moment, but I dare say that things will blow over again before long." ==== Sorry, would you mind running that past me again in plain English?

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  • First Impressions  |  February 01 2013, 5:45PM

    Whilst I am sure the intention of wind turbines is good, I cannot but seem them merely as an eyesore on our countryside.

    |   -10
  • eskimo  |  February 01 2013, 5:00PM

    The South Australia Environmental Protection Agency is to conduct an enquiry into low frequency noise down to 0.25 Hz. 'It will require the cooperation and provision of operational data which wind development operators have so far refused to provide to any independent researchers, anywhere in the world.' The monitoring will include the turbines being switched on and off, to check differences. It would be helpful if totally independent monitoring of this type could be done in this country as well, and prove conclusively one way or another how bad wind noise is.

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  • Jafr33  |  February 01 2013, 4:01PM

    Whether or not it's sabotage, it's interesting that the developers realise that these turbines are so hated that sabotage is a strong possibility. The more these things go up (& the multi-hectare solar farms at the same time) the angrier people will become. If the law ceases to respect the will of the people, then the people will cease to respect the law.

    |   -2