Public safety - what happens when turbines go wrong
Accidents happen and can be very serious
While the impression is that turbines are safe, the accident statistics show that they can be catastrophic.
The Health and Safety Executive Review in 2006 states:
‘Wind turbines are frequently located on land open to the public and so account needs to be taken of hazards such as whole or partial blade failure, falling ice, fire and lightning.
When the developer seeks planning permission for the wind farm, these potential risks to public safety should be assessed within the planning framework process.’
A database of wind farm accidents is available at http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/
From 1st January to 30th September 2010 they report:-
16 - blade failure incidents
5 - wind turbines catching fire
6 - structural failures
The Woodlane Proposal places users of public roads and footpaths at risk from turbine failure.
An engineering manual for wind turbine engineers recommends that engineers should minimise the time they spend within 400 metres of an operational turbine. Further information.
The proposed Woodlane turbines have public roads closer than this.
When fragments of turbine blades have been thrown 800 metres or more, turbines should not be within 130 metres (topple height plus 10%) of public footpaths.