England

Wind turbines 'safe' despite collapses, says industry

Collapsed turbine
Image caption Investigations are being carried out by the Bradworthy wind turbine's installer and manufacturer

Wind turbines are safe despite two of them collapsing in the South West in the space of a week, a representative of the industry has insisted.

The first turbine fell at Bradworthy in Devon last Sunday and the second near Launceston in Cornwall on Wednesday.

Some local residents said they feared someone being killed and said plans for new turbines should be stalled until an inquiry had been completed.

Renewable UK, which represents the industry, said that was "premature".

'Terrible accident' fear

Robert Norris from Renewable UK said: "Incidents like this are rare. But it's important to learn from them and implement any lessons fully and promptly.

"In this case, the manufacturer and installer of the turbine are carrying out a detailed and thorough investigation".

The first turbine to fall was a 115ft (35m) machine and the second was about 55ft (17m) high.

Steve Harrop, from Shebbear, near Bradworthy, said Torridge District Council, whose area includes the site of the first incident, should put plans for turbines on hold until the Health and Safety Executive had established why the turbines had fallen.

"I think it's something the council need to look at because if they don't there's going to be a terrible accident," he said.

"It's too late when someone's dead.

"Torridge and all other councils need to stop and look at what they are doing before any more go through."

'Nobody injured'

Roger Johnson, deputy leader of Torridge District Council, said: "We are very concerned about it.

"But we are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive who are on site. It would be the HSE which says 'you must put a hold on a particular type of product'.

"We can't stop look at planning applications."

Mr Norris said: "We have about 6,500 of these small and medium size turbines in the UK. When one goes down that is a cause for concern.

"Overall the wind industry has a very good health and safety record.

"No member of the public has been injured in any way by a wind turbine.

"The most important thing is to carry out an investigation and make sure that any lessons that we can learn are learned as swiftly as possible and communicated to the wider industry."

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