A set of photos showing what can happen when wind turbines encounter problems has been released by the pressure group fighting a proposed wind farm on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea.
The ‘KNOll to Wind Farm’ pressure group believes the plans to build five wind turbines on land at Edithmead pose a risk to people and facilities in Brent Knoll.
In a statement, it said: “The proposal for a wind farm between Burnham-On-Sea and Brent Knoll, within a few hundred metres of old peoples homes, social housing, a primary school, a village hall, local park, footpaths and bridleways has led local residents to raise questions about the health and safety risks that may be associated with such a development.”
The group also released two photographs which, it claimed, show the risks involved with the wind turbines.
It added: “A problem seems to be the turbines catching fire; one of the most recent and significant fires was on December 23rd when one of the five 200ft wind turbines at the Nissan car plant in Sunderland caught fire,” it says.
It added that according to the Renewable Energy Foundation, the entire structure and box on top of the tower where the blades were attached, plus 75ft long blades, were destroyed. “Police closed a nearby A road for 90 minutes until the turbine structure had burned away because of safety fears,” added the ‘KNOll to Wind Farm’ spokesman.
It also claimed that REF believes fires are a “well-documented problem at wind farms in other parts of Europe.”
A spokesperson for ‘KNOll to Wind Farm’ added: “Whilst we would not claim to be health and safety experts, reports and pictures of such incidences have created a lot of concern.”
“A widespread view in the community is that it appears folly to unnecessarily create a potential risk when siting turbines well away from large local communities would eliminate such risk. We trust that the Planning Authorities will take this into consideration when reviewing this opportunistic commercial proposal.”
Responding to the statement, Ecotricity spokesman Jamie Baldwin told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “No member of the public has ever been killed in the UK from wind tubines, which isn’t the case with other power generation types. Wind farms are a very safe form of power generation.”
“With the Nissan fire, it was electricians who inadvertently started the fire, rather than a malfunction with the wind turbine. A fire broke out when they were fixing it.”
“Our wind turbines don’t have gear boxes or moving parts, so have far fewer mechanical problems.”
“We use a direct drive – magnetic coils rather than a gear box – which are also less noisy and are less likely to break down.”