Published: January 15, 2014
Widow's emotional plea for wind farm to be halted due to road safety

A woman whose husband was killed by a speeding motorist near Burnham-On-Sea has this week made an impassioned plea for road safety concerns to halt a proposed wind farm.

Pat Ireland, whose husband Gordon was killed in a collision with a car while crossing the A38 in Rooksbridge in 2008, told Tuesday's appeal hearing into the Pilrow wind farm that the planned 130 metre-tall wind turbines would threaten road safety.

Pat, pictured with fellow road safety campaigner David Maund, made the comments during a packed public meeting in East Huntspill Village Hall.

The audience of 100 local people listened in complete silence as Pat outlined her emotional argument, before bursting into loud applause at the end, defying Planning Inspector Paul Jackson who had asked for no noise from the audience.

Pat told the meeting: "Despite the claims that the wind farm will not be a distraction to motorists, I believe human nature, being naturally curious, will result in motorists being distracted. These turbines will be very close to the M5, one of the busiest motorways, especially during the summer holiday season. Sedgemoor Services is in close proximity to the proposed wind farm. Vehicles leaving and joining the services on an extremely congested section of the motorway result in several accidents. The additional distraction of the wind farm can only make things worse."

"I am also concerned about the increase in HGV movements along the A38 during the construction phase. Much of this traffic will be lorries transporting aggregate from the quarries around Cheddar, using the A38 through the village of Rooksbridge. Speaking as a local resident and a motorist, it is common place for these 'quarry lorries' to travel at excessive speed and in an intimidatory manner."

"Six years ago this January, my husband whilst crossing the A38 in Rooksbridge, was killed by a speeding motorist. That morning, my husband became a number on a piece of paper, a mere statistic and I became a widow. Behind these statistics there is a human story, a tragic story of pain, anguish, grief, tears and anger. No statistic can convey this human tragedy."

"How anyone can say or even think that the A38 is not dangerous should put themselves in my position. I know first hand how dangerous the road is. I live in the village of Rooksbridge which as I have already said has a Post Office, Public House and a Garage. Most people use the Post Office at least once a week, I know of some who visit every day for their paper. Obviously this means that most everyone has to cross the A38."

"My husband was one of the nicest men you could wish to meet. He was a kind, loving and loyal husband who put his family before anything else. We had only lived in Rooksbridge for six months and we had received two letters addressed to the original owner. It was Friday 4th January 2008 and we decided to go shopping to get extra things for our new home and my husband said he would take the letters with him and put them through his letterbox. We left later than originally planned and my husband went first into the Post Office."

"Whilst he was there, I decided to start putting the address on the letters so that he could leave them at the post office instead of having to cross the road. Being the kind man he was, when he returned he said 'it won't take me a minute'. I replied 'yes but you know how dangerous this road is... 'Yes' he replied, but you know how careful I am'."

"He then said 'shan't be a sec!' That was the last words he spoke to me because a car decided to overtake coming into the 30 mph limit, overtaking a car and an HGV, suddenly saw Gordon and although putting his brakes on, hit him at 57 mph. I ran across the road to see Gordon lying in the road with the impact being so hard both his shoes were off and one of his socks."

"I was screaming his name, but could see he was dead. His eyes were open and they were grey. I knew he was dead then as he normally had such bright twinkling eyes."

"I can assure everyone that the A38 is extremely dangerous and anyone who disagrees with this statement needs to lose someone close to them and then they would change their minds."

"The increased HGV movements, associated with the construction of this proposal, will only make an unsafe road even more dangerous. I would not want anyone to experience the ongoing anguish which I have suffered since my husband was killed, I do not want to see a child's life suddenly taken away by a speeding HGV. I strongly urge the Inspector to recommend refusal of this planning appeal."

Pat runs a registered charity 'Lights for Life', an organisation which campaigns tirelessly to improve road safety in the village of Rooksbridge.


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