WHITTLESEY: Shards of ice come cascading down from Fenland's biggest wind turbine
WORRIED residents forced the biggest wind turbine in Fenland to shut down after enormous shards of ice fell from the monster blades onto homes and businesses below. Lumps of ice three or four feet long flew through the air and smashed onto Kings Dyke Carp
WORRIED residents forced the biggest wind turbine in Fenland to shut down after enormous shards of ice fell from the monster blades onto homes and businesses below.
Lumps of ice three or four feet long flew through the air and smashed onto Kings Dyke Carpets' showroom and car park at Whittlesey.
"If the blades had been facing in a different direction, lumps of ice could have hit cars on the A605, causing a major accident or killing someone," warned carpet shop owner Tyson Clark.
"If the ice had hit a car windscreen, someone would have been killed without a doubt," he added. "The turbine should never have been built where it is."
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Mr Clark and his wife Maria were alarmed to discover the melting ice falling on their premises around 9.30am on Saturday and alerted turbine owners Cornwall Light and Power, demanding the turbine should stop. After some "stop-start" that caused more ice to fall, the blades came to a halt within half an hour.
"A customer arrived, said they would not stay to have their car smashed up, and drove off. We have never seen them again," said a worried Mr Clark. "This is not safe, and it is affecting our business.
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"We have been told the turbine will stay off until the company has some satisfactory answers to why it happened. They did say that people's safety was more important than electricity."
The turbine stayed off for the rest of Saturday - but on Sunday morning it started running again, until businessman Peter Randall immediately got back on the phone and demanded it should stop permanently.
"On Thursday we were assured that ice could only cause a problem in severe weather conditions like those in Scotland, and two days later we got javelins thrown at us," said Mr Randall, who runs nearby ARC Welding.
Mr Randall's son and pregnant girlfriend live under the shadow of the turbine, and the falling ice landed just 10 feet from their back door.
"The Danish government will not accept turbines being built within 600 metres of homes or businesses, and we have a turbine 65 metres from my son's home," he said. "If the ice hit someone, it would definitely kill them."
Mr Randall is furious that the £2million turbine, which stands 125-metres high, was erected so close to buildings.
"I am worried about safety of my family and everyone in the area, we should not have to put up with this."
A spokesman for Cornwall Light and Power said: "Following reports of ice shedding on Saturday, we shut down our wind turbine at Whittlesey.
"Our people have visited the site and nearby residents, and we have agreed that the turbine will not generate until we are fully satisfied that there is no risk of ice shedding. We will talk to nearby residents prior to re-starting the turbine to generate electricity.
"Our people, and the manufacturer's engineers, continue to take data from the turbine and it will on occasion rotate very slowly during this period of investigation. This slow rotation is how a turbine of this type is normally "parked."
"Due to local concerns, we have agreed that at the end of any period of this slow rotation, the engineers will fix the turbine blades in a Y-position. This will continue until we have concluded the necessary work. We expect this work to be completed next week and will inform people fully of the findings."
Fenland Landscape Against Turbines has previously warned about the dangers of "ice throw," and say Saturday's incident has highlighted the safety issue associated with building turbines close to houses, roads, public footpaths and bridleways.
Chairman Lyndon Mason said: "Yet again the information given by FLAT has been proven to be correct.