Pictured, from left, are Peter Randall, Tyson Clark and Andrew Randall with Sophia Nesbitt (10) and Tia Clark (10) with some of the blocks of ice which have fallen off the nearby wind turbine.
(8GM1129018) Picture: Georgi Mabee
02 December 2008
By Kirsten Beacock
Residents were left fearing for their safety after shards of melting ice fell on homes and gardens from the blades of a giant wind turbine.
For about four hours people in King's Dyke, Whittlesey, had to take cover as huge lumps – some two feet long – showered them from the 80 metre high tower on Saturday morning.
Resident Peter Randall, whose son's house lies a stone's throw away from the turbine, said: "Somebody is going to get killed. There was huge lumps of ice shooting off and landing everywhere.
"No one wants to leave the house because they are frightened and worried about the ice falling.
"My son's partner is pregnant and she is now worried sick about her unborn baby."
Freezing overnight temperatures had caused the ice to form and after frantic calls to Truro-based firm Cornwall Light and Power, which owns the turbine, the £2 million machine was eventually turned off.
Maria Clark, who owns King's Dyke Karpets, based yards from the turbine, said: "It has been really frightening, the turbine has been stopping and starting all morning. The ice makes such a loud noise when it shatters we thought a bomb had gone off in the yard.
"It scared a customer away. They were in the shop when it landed and said they did not want to risk their car and ran out."
This is not the first time the turbine has courted controversy.
Last month The Evening Telegraph revealed how residents had lodged complaints with the environmental health department at Fenland District Council due to alleged noise pollution and had demanded the turbine's removal.
The huge machine, which measures 80 metres at its hub and 125 metres when one of its three blades is vertical, was put up in August.
A spokesperson for Cornwall Light & Power said: "We received a report of an ice shedding incident near our Whittlesey turbine on Saturday morning and immediately made arrangements for it to be switched off.
"The turbine will remain stopped until we have a clear understanding of what happened and any safety concerns have been fully addressed.
"Cornwall Light & Power is a reputable operator with a proven track record of generating clean electricity safely and we will act quickly to resolve this issue.
"In the meantime, any local residents who have concerns can call us directly on 01872 226930."
MP for Cambridgeshire North East Malcolm Moss said the turbine should remain closed until a new risk assessment could be made, as the problem could also have national implications.
He said: "I had no idea this turbine was going up, it came out of the blue really and I am surprised they put one so close to homes and businesses.
"I assume that a risk assessment was put with the planning application, but if it was not then a full inquiry should be undertaken."
Whittlesey councillor Ronald Speechley today said he would by lobbying the council to find out what can be done.
He said: "I have received a lot of complaints and the fact that ice has fallen off should be brought to light. This should have been thought of before they put the turbine so close to houses and the road."