CAMPAIGNERS last night welcomed a freeze on new wind turbines following safety concerns.
Kirklees Council yesterday suspended planning applications for a type of windmill manufactured by Brighouse firm Evoco Energy.
The move came after high winds ripped blades from the company’s turbines in Hepworth and Upper Cumberworth earlier this month.
Kirklees leader Clr Mehboob Khan said yesterday: “As a responsible council we take these incidents very seriously. No more applications for this model of turbine will be considered until we know the outcome of the manufacturer’s rigorous safety checks.”
The Labour man made the announcement following a series of incidents this month involving 10-kilowatt Evoco turbines, including:
A windmill was ripped apart by gale force winds at Upper Woodroyd Barn in Hepworth. A blade on the Evoco-built turbine was thrown across the road by huge gusts
Identical models at Far Mount Farm and Drake Hill Farm in Upper Cumberworth were also damaged in the high winds during the first week of the New Year.
Simon Reevell, who represents the village in Parliament, called for Kirklees to suspend all wind turbine applications following the incidents.
But Clr Khan said that a blanket ban was not possible.
“We do everything within our scope to make sure wind turbines built in Kirklees are as safe as possible,” he said. However, all councils must determine planning applications in accordance with national policy guidance.
“No authority can place a moratorium on all planning applications for wind turbine development.
“Only the Government can change the current system and anyone with concerns will need to lobby ministers.”
Yesterday’s announcement means two planning applications for 10-kilowatt Evoco turbines have been suspended.
Alan Downs has asked Kirklees for permission to install a 15-metre windmill made by the Brighouse company at Denton Nook, off Drinker Lane, in Shelley. And a proposal to build a 12-metre Evoco turbine at Nabb Farm, off Highfield Road in Slaithwaite, has also been put on ice.
Naeem Siraj of Shelley Action Group – which is campaigning against the Denton Nook turbine – welcomed the news yesterday.
“It’s to be applauded, but we would like to see a halt to all turbine planning applications until concerns about safety are resolved,” he said.
The Examiner contacted Evoco yesterday to ask for a comment. None was forthcoming.