A VILLAGE action group has called for a halt on wind turbines being built in Huddersfield.
Shelley Action Group (SAG) say it is concerned about public safety after nine-metre turbine blades flew off three windmills in Hepworth and Upper Cumberworth in January’s gale-force winds.
Kirklees Council has already suspended planning applications for the 10 kilowatt wind turbines manufactured by Brighouse company Evoco.
But SAG says it is not enough and is calling on the suspension to be extended to all types of wind turbines until tests confirm they are all safe.
The group are particularly concerned after a recent raft of applications for wind turbines in Shelley.
Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell has echoed their concerns.
But Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan said just because there was a problem with one type of turbine, does not mean there’s a problem with all of them.
There are 10 different types of wind turbine being used in the Kirklees area.
Clr Khan said: “The suspension of consideration of planning applications for a particular model of turbine was as a result of three separate incidents occurring during a single adverse weather event.
“This approach cannot be justified for all wind turbines regardless of their manufacturer. No authority could place a blanket ban on all planning applications for wind turbine development. If central government were to advise a moratorium on all turbine applications we could – but we cannot break the law.
“We have reviewed all pending applications for turbines to assess their safety.
“All wind turbines currently being considered have either been approved under the micro-generating certification scheme or have a manufacturer’s declaration that they conform to European and British safety standards.
“The safe distance for a turbine in areas where members of the public may be present is taken into account in assessing planning applications.
“While there is no statutory minimum stand-off distance to residential properties, highways or public rights of way, we follow current national planning policy advice.
“This distance is often exceeded anyway because of other considerations, for instance noise.”
But SAG spokesman Michael Rock believes there is proof that other wind turbines – apart from the 10 kilowatt turbines by Evoco – can’t stand up to strong winds.
An Endurance wind turbine – which is the same make as those proposed at several locations in Shelley – recently collapsed in Shropshire.
Mr Rock said: “There has yet to be an explanation why this 112-foot tall turbine collapsed in only moderate winds.
“As this is the same make and model of turbine which is planned for three locations in Shelley in close proximity to people’s homes we are asking why, as a responsible council, have Kirklees not also suspended planning applications for Endurance turbines where they are in such close proximity to homes?
“If council officers and councillors – having been made aware of a potential danger – choose to ignore this on the basis that safety is not a material consideration, then perhaps these council officers and councillors should be personally liable for any injury sustained or fatality.”
Clr Khan said the cause of the wind turbine collapse in Shropshire is not yet known but officers at the council are investigating.
He said: “This will be taken into account in the consideration of any planning application relating to this make and model.”