CALLS were made this week for further checks to be on the safety of local windfarm developments after the unexplained collapse of a structure in Northern Ireland.

Tweeddale MP David Mundell wants assurance from the Scottish government, the health and safety executive and council building control that local windfarms pose no danger to the public.

The authorities were forced to shut down seven remaining turbines at a windfarm near Fintona, County Tyrone after a 100-metre high turbine collapsed on Friday night.

Mr Mundell is also concerned that new developments are being proposed with turbines closer and closer to homes and has asked the Scottish government and council to confirm that minimum safe distances between housing and new Windfarms will be strictly enforced.

“I was extremely concerned to learn about this incident at the Screggagh Windfarm in Co Tyrone,” he said.

“It is particularly troubling that there appears to be no obvious explanation such as very high winds at the time. The turbine involved is similar to many locally with a tower height of 60m, an 80m rotor diameter, and an overall base to blade tip height of 100 metres.

“I understand people in the area said the rotor blades were spinning out of control on the evening the turbine buckled.

“The sound of the failing mechanical structure was heard more than seven miles away and debris from the stricken turbine was scattered across the mountainside, with a large spike remaining impaled in the earth several 100 yards from the turbine site. I am pleased there were no injuries when the turbine collapsed.

“It’s now vitally important we get to the bottom of what happened and make sure there are no such incidents possible on local windfarms. That’s why I want to be clear that the Scottish government, health and safety executive and building control are all aware of this incident and the ongoing inquiry. I want to be reassured that all local turbines are completely safe and not in danger of collapse. We might not be so lucky next time to avoid injury or damage to property.

“I have been increasingly concerned about how close some proposed new developments are to people’s homes and this incident reinforces the need for regulation of that and for it to be enforced. So I am also raising those issues with the council and the Scottish government. Of course, a better solution from my point of view would be to have no new windfarm developments locally at all.”