Articles filed under Safety from Europe
Airport bosses and defence chiefs have joined residents in objecting to proposals for a wind farm outside one of the region's villages. Early site tests are being carried out on a scheme to build the 100-metre high turbines on farmland outside West Newbiggin, near Darlington. No official planning applications have been submitted yet, but people living in the nearby villages have vowed to stop the scheme before it goes any further. ...The letter, obtained by The Northern Echo, states: "The principal safeguarding concern of the MoD with respect to the development of wind turbines relates to potential obstruction to air traffic movements and interference to air traffic control and air defence radar installations. "It is possible that wind turbines of the dimensions identified may be in direct line of sight to MoD radar facilities at RAF Leeming."
Turbines shuddering to a halt across the region in heavy winds are yet another flaw of wind power, opposition groups claimed last night. The structures cease to operate when wind speeds reach a certain level and do not generate electricity. Many wind farms shut down at 55mph, and some at 33mph. Figures released by the Met Office show that in February wind speeds reached 91 miles per hour in Newcastle, 79 mph at Boulmer, near Alnwick and 77 mph at Albemarle in Northumberland. But operators of wind farms in the North East have confirmed that with these strong gusts, there have been occasions when their turbines have been brought to a standstill.
Military concerns could force a radical rethink of the region's wind capacity, the North's top planner has admitted. When Government planning inspectors rule on whether or not to allow 59 wind turbines over three Tynedale sites, their decision will be felt across the region, especially in Northumberland. Officers at the North East Assembly (NEA) tasked with finding the best places to build turbines have previously labeled large parts of the Tyne Valley as acceptable for medium-size wind farms. But an objection by the Ministry of Defence in September meant the Tynedale wind farms were rejected, and the NEA now admits a Northumberland rethink could be on the way.
Defence chiefs have withdrawn their objections to a planned wind farm at the test track of car manufacturer Lotus after deciding that it would not pose a threat to national security after all. The claim by the MOD that the three 120m high turbines would cause "unacceptable interference" to the air defence radar at Trimingham - 32 miles away on the north Norfolk coast - was the main reason why district planners rejected the scheme in November last year. ...MOD spokesman Pragati Baddhan told the Mercury: "The MOD has withdrawn its objection to the Lotus wind farm proposal following a detailed re-appraisal which found that the effect on radar performance at Trimingham is manageable.
In what implies a Rs.1 billion ($25 million) hit on its balance sheet for the current quarter, leading wind power equipment-maker Suzlon Energy will refit wind turbine blades for a project in the US, the company said Monday. “The company will do a retrofit programme to resolve blade-cracking issues discovered during the operations of some of its S88 turbines in the US,” the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange Monday.
Representing the MOD, Ailsa Wilson said the organisation's appearance at Duns Volunteer Hall was the first time they had needed to attend a public inquiry and added that they were satisfied that the correct judgement had been made when the original application was objected to. In her closing statement Ms Wilson reiterated the Ministry's concerns that of the 48 turbines proposed, at least 37 would be in the line of sight of the RAF radar at Brizlee Wood near Alnwick. She added that a windfarm at Fallago Rig would effectively create a 'hole' in detection and said that even losing sight of an aircraft for a minute could be crucial to aviation operations and national security.
On February 22 a 600 kW Nordtank wind turbine at Halling in eastern Jutland experienced a so called runwaway event causing its blades to spin out of control. Minutes later the blades collided with the tower and caused the turbine to collapse. In an unrelated event at Vig in Odsherred a Vestas V47 600kW wind turbine lost a blade. In both cases, Vestas assume that human errors in service and maintenance caused the events, but points out that they are in process of finding the accurate causes.
The climate minister will begin an investigation into two separate cases of Vestas wind turbines collapsing within the past week The climate minister, Connie Hedegaard, is calling for an investigation to determine the cause of two violent wind turbine collapses in Denmark in the past week. Both of the windmills were produced by Vestas, and Hedegaard's request to the Energy Board comes after other breakdowns both here and abroad have been reported in the past two months.
Giving his precognition during the second week of the public inquiry into the application by North British Windpower, Squadron Leader Neal Henley, Staff Officer for National and NATO Command Control Capability, said that even though there is 70km between the site in the Lammermuirs and an air defence radar head at RAF Brizlee Wood, near Alnwick, there was still a substantial risk that a windfarm development could disrupt air defences. He described the "significant adverse impact," any turbines could have on radar signals and stated that of the 48 turbines earmarked for Fallago Rig, 35 are calculated to be in the line of sight of the air defence radar.
Supporters of wind energy may be underestimating the seriousness of the damage done to radar signals, and the ease with which problems can be corrected. Not for the first time, they may be guilty of making overambitious claims for the potential of wind power, while countryside champions increasingly rue the way wind farms spoil sweeping vistas. For its part, the Ministry of Defence may be too Quixotic. But this is a genuine conundrum, not a laughing matter. A cost-effective solution must be found quickly. It may be a simple question of coordination and communication. If so, it is high time that different branches of government came together to avoid an unnecessary and potentially damaging conflict.
Ambitious plans to meet up to a third of Britain's energy needs from offshore wind farms are in jeopardy because the Ministry of Defence objects that the turbines interfere with its radar. The MoD has lodged last-minute objections to at least four onshore wind farms in the line of sight of its stations on the east coast because they make it impossible to spot aircraft, The Times has learnt. The same objections are likely to apply to wind turbines in the North Sea, part of the massive renewable energy project announced by John Hutton, the Energy Secretary, barely two months ago. They would be directly in line with the three principal radar defence stations, Brizlee Wood, Saxton Wold and Trimingham on the Northumberland, Yorkshire and Norfolk coasts. Giving evidence to a planning inquiry last October, a senior MoD expert said that the turbines create a hole in radar coverage so that aircraft flying overhead are not detectable. In written evidence, Squadron Leader Chris Breedon said: "This obscuration occurs regardless of the height of the aircraft, of the radar and of the turbine." He described the discovery as alarming.
The Ministry of Defence has been accused of trying to put a "blanket ban" on onshore windfarm development in East Anglia. And in the wake of a succession of high-profile MoD objections to turbines on the grounds of radar interference, leading developers warned they could be forced to scrap future windfarm plans in the region - at great cost to the local economy - unless the planning climate changes. Representatives of four regional companies, Wind Power Renewables, Mellinsus Renewables, SLP Energy and Enertrag UK, will lobby MPs and officials for less prohibitive planning procedures. ...An MOD spokesman said: "We fully support the government's renewable energy policies and targets, and treat each windfarm case on its merits. Objections are only raised when absolutely necessary, and we will always engage with landowners and developers to try to find solutions to any concerns we may have. "However it is vital that we protect our air defence and air traffic control radar from interference from any development which would unacceptably jeopardise national security or the safe movement of aircraft."
The risk of air collisions would increase if plans to build 59 wind turbines close to three radars in Northumberland are approved, the opening of a public inquiry heard yesterday. The Ministry of Defence and Newcastle International Airport (NIA) say structures at three separate wind farms proposed in Tynedale would all be in direct line of sight of their air traffic control radars. They claim the presence of turbines would impact on the operation of those radars - adding to the risk of collisions for pilots and passengers. The three-month inquiry, at Newcastle Airport's Britannia Hotel, was told that there is a "history of incidents" in the busy air space close to where the wind farms are proposed.
Six new wind turbines at Swaffham would create a “ticking time bomb” for RAF Marham, Breckland district councillors were warned this week. And after listening to the concerns expressed by a local member and former RAF serviceman, fellow councillors voted unanimously to refuse the plans by Next Generation. When plans for six new 120m-high turbines at Swaffham were first unveiled, Breckland officers recommended approval for the scheme. But after councillors put off making a final decision on the project - between the A1065 Castle Acre Road and Sporle - to allow more investigation of issues raised by the MoD, the plans were recommended for refusal. ...“It's a ticking time bomb. Do you really want a time bomb in your hands?
The debate over onshore windfarms will be thrust back into the spotlight after mid-Norfolk planning officials performed a U-turn on proposals for six new turbines following complaints from the Ministry of Defence. ...A report by officers says: “While there is an acknowledged need to secure suitable sites for renewable energy sources, in the light of detailed objection from Defence Estates relating to the impact of the proposal upon air traffic radar and air traffic management procedures at RAF Marham, the application is recommended for refusal.” ...the Defence Estates argue the turbines would have “an unacceptable impact” on the air traffic control radar and air traffic management procedures at RAF Marham.
Campaigners are welcoming an inquiry into the safety of wind turbines after two came crashing down. The manufacturer behind some of the largest wind turbines planned for use in the North-East is conducting an internal review to find why two of its structures buckled in high winds and collapsed. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an investigation but is awaiting the results of the company's own review before it decides what action to take. The first turbine collapsed in Scotland last November, followed by a second collapse near Dalston, Cumbria, last week. ...Wind farm campaigner John Ferguson, from Northumberland group Save Our Unspoilt Landscape, welcomed the inquiry. He said: "If there is a risk, then it is important we find out now rather than when the turbines are in operation. "The British Wind Energy Association and others seem to brush over the risk here, but these are serious safety concerns.
Yesterday airport head of planning and corporate affairs Graeme Mason said he would be asking Ministers to ‘call in' the application and hold a public inquiry because of the unresolved safety concerns. Site owner Hainsford Energy wants to replace the existing nine turbines at Blyth Harbour with the seven much bigger and more powerful machines to create a facility capable of powering 11,600 homes. Approval was granted by Wansbeck's regulatory committee on Tuesday night, despite a last-minute plea by Newcastle Airport that it would be ‘quite wrong' to give the scheme the green light. The new turbines will be built along Blyth's East Pier and at Battleship Wharf near Cambois. Yesterday Mr Mason said: "I have already been in contact with Government Office for the North-East to formally request that the application is called in by the Secretary of State. It is looking increasingly likely that we will be arguing this issue at a public inquiry.
Wind farms are set to play a big part in national and regional targets for renewable energy production and last year Cumbria's councils produced the 62 page Cumbria Wind Energy Supplementary Planning Document. ...Meanwhile we urge planners seeking the best places to site wind farms in Cumbria to do plenty of background research. ...Such data should be evaluated as Cumbria performs the tricky balancing act of meeting renewable energy targets, safeguarding lives and health, and preserving our uniquely beautiful countryside.
A giant crane has moved next to Lowestoft's seafront wind turbine to carry out the delicate task of removing a damaged blade. A lightning strike during a thunderstorm on June 8 damaged the tip of a blade on the 120m landmark known as Gulliver. Although engineers had the blades spinning again the same day a subsequent maintenance inspection revealed there was a problem. For the past eight weeks Gulliver has been out of action awaiting the arrival of a crane big enough to be used to remove the damaged blade.
NATIONAL security could be compromised by more wind turbines in the Swaffham area, but councillors have been recommended to grant permission. The Ministry of Defence warns the six new giant turbines would have "an unacceptable impact upon the air traffic control radar at RAF Marham and Lakenheath and also against the air defence radar at Trimingham". But Breckland councillors could give the go-ahead on Monday for the turbines to be built on an open farmland site between the A1065 Castleacre Road and Sporle Road in Swaffham and Sporle.