Stow wind farm operators deny turbine danger

Graeme Steel who stays near Stow in the Scottish Borders found this piece of wind turbune near his home. The wind farm it came from (Longpark) has now been closed.
Graeme Steel who stays near Stow in the Scottish Borders found this piece of wind turbune near his home. The wind farm it came from (Longpark) has now been closed.
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More than a week after a 3m long spoiler from a wind farm near Stow was found by the side of a road, there is still confusion as to how it got there.

The fin-like component was spotted by local businessman Graham Steel on a verge at Allanshaws between Stow and Wooplaw.

EDF Energy Renewables confirmed it was from their adjacent 19-turbine Longpark wind farm, but denied claims it had been brought down by high winds and could have caused death or injury.

After an on-site investigation by their engineers, the company said the efficiency-boosting component had been taken from a turbine blade as part of a maintenance programme and was being stored at ground level.

They also said it was unlikely the spoiler could have found its way to the roadside by the wind.

But later email correspondence between Mr Steel and EDF’s head of asset management Nick Bradford, seems to contradict the company’s earlier statement.

Mr Bradford states: “The spoiler in question was part of a stock of spoilers which was awaiting installation – it had yet to be installed as part of the specific works being carried out on the site.

“I do apologise if this wasn’t clear. The spoiler in question was one of a number of spoilers, new and re-conditioned, waiting to be installed.”

But following the investigation by EDF and the turbine makers Senvion, EDF had said: “Work has been carried out at Longpark recently as part of a maintenace regime of these spoilers and number of spoilers had been removed from turbines and were being stored at the site.”

Mr Steel, of Mitchelston Farm Cottages, near Stow, said the company’s statements raised more questions than they did answers.

Mr Steel also asked EDF if they had received permission from Scottish Borders Council to make the changes to the 110m high turbines, but has been told by EDF that removing or installing spoilers did not constitute a change and did not require planning permission or other permits.

Longpark was refused planning permission by the council, but it was approved the Scottish Parliament.

The wind farm shut down during last week’s probe, but began operating the next day.