WHITTLESEY: Irony of 'one in a million' chance of falling ice that saw Man City axe wind turbine

BY Elaine King MANCHESTER City Football Club axed a plan to build a wind turbine at its stadium because of a one in a million chance of ice forming on the blades and landing on footie fans below. They pulled the wind turbine just days before a wind tur

BY Elaine King

MANCHESTER City Football Club axed a plan to build a wind turbine at its stadium because of a "one in a million chance" of ice forming on the blades and landing on footie fans below.

They pulled the wind turbine just days before a wind turbine at Whittlesey had to close down........ after enormous shards of ice fell from its blades.

The Premier League club secured planning permission for a turbine to provide its electricity earlier this year - but dumped the plan after hearing of the one-in-a-million risk of people being injured by ice being flung from its blades.

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Dale Vince, the managing director of Ecotricity, who was to erect a 2MW rated turbine, said: "We don't feel that we can accept even this small level of risk.

"We don't feel the risk to the public, to the reputation of the club, to Ecotricity and to wind energy, is worth taking."

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The company said that while the risk of ice hitting visitors was "one-in-a-million," the fact that thousands of fans would pass close by the proposed turbine each week, would increase the chance of injury.

Last week, residents living and working alongside the 125 metre high Whittlesey turbine forced its shut down, after lumps of ice from its blades smashed on to Kings Dyke Karpets' showroom and car park, and landed just 10 feet from a family's back door.

A spokesman for Cornwall Light and Power, who run the turbine, said this week: "The investigation is still ongoing. I can confirm that the turbine is currently stopped and will not be switched on until we have a clear understanding of what happened, and any safety concerns have been fully addressed."

In Manchester, Ecotricity and the football club had looked at a range of suggestions to combat the possible problem of ice build up, including heating the blades, but jointly decided to abandon the project.

The proposed turbine would have provided enough electricity for the entire stadium, as well as 80 per cent of the Sportcity area of East Manchester, over a 25 year period.


Spending the day with residents living near the Whittlesey wind turbine, enabled me to understand the terrible impact that this development has had on their lives.

Not so long ago, these people enjoyed a good quality of life within their safe living and working environment. Suddenly almost overnight, these friendly folk were subjected to sleep deprivation, noise, strobe light, sweeping shadows, and ice projectiles that crashed into properties and gardens.

As heavy shards of ice lay amongst children's toys, I felt anger well up within me about this unnecessary, dangerous, and stupid development that has impacted so much on peoples' lives. The child's play area is also dominated by a large noise monitoring machine, child's chatter has been replaced by the "thump" of 120ft blades that seem to be within the garden area.

Who is responsible for this disruption? Certainly not the developer, he will put turbines anywhere he is allowed to. So who would approve of such a development so near to peoples homes, work places, pedestrians, and busy roads?

Condemnation of this development comes from all quarters, as the question is repeatedly asked: "Who in their right mind approved this absolutely inappropriate development?"

The local Town Council applied lack of wisdom and displayed total naivety when it approved this blight on peoples lives, final approval was given by Fenland District Council.

Wind turbine development in Fenland now threatens lives, as the authorities maintain their "dash for wind" in order to satisfy political gratification. In my view, members of the council that approved this horrendous impact on residents, should be named and shamed. Local residents have told me that they felt hurt and let down by the ambitions of others, and now demand an enquiry to determine what went so badly wrong with this application and resulting approval.

John Stoneman

Cambs Environmental and Wildlife Protection

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