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Nwicker60
26-Oct-12, 12:51
Safe to operate says Highland Council review

THE Highland Council has completed a comprehensive risk assessment of wind turbines located in school grounds which confirms safe operation and gives the go ahead for the turbines, which have proved effective, to restart soon. These include five in Caithness and two in Sutherland.
It believes it has broken new ground in assessing and managing the risks associated with wind turbines in schools following a detailed review of school locations by independent consultants Building Research Establishment (BRE).
The Council suspended the operation of the turbines in May ahead of the review. Each site has now been assessed and following servicing and site works the turbines will be re-energised on a school-by-school basis during November.
The clear conclusion of the risk assessments (http://www.highland.gov.uk/businessinformation/constructionpropertyandestates/schoolwindturbines/) is that the turbines will operate safely at wind speeds up to 134mph. Applying a further safety margin, the Council will ensure that no turbine is operational in wind speeds exceeding 100mph.
Procedures will be in place to ensure that turbines are isolated and made safe before such extreme conditions prevail. Further site specific measures will be carried out, before re-energising, in line with the recommendations of BRE and resulting from the conclusions of our own risk assessments.
The turbines at Holm (Inverness), Rosehall (Sutherland) and Eigg (Small Isles) primaries proved to be ineffectual in terms of energy performance and will be decommissioned. An additional turbine at Craighill Primary, Tain, proved to be poorly sited and will be decommissioned. Opportunities will be sought to recycle the equipment on more suitable sites.
The turbine at Scoraig Primary School, West Ross, is in a remote location on the peninsula and has been back in operation since the summer following its assessment.
Risk assessments at another 12 primary schools concluded that following the implementation of site specific measures (principally fencing, servicing and training) they can be safely operated and should be re-energised.
They are:
Caithness: Bower Primary; Castletown Primary; Crossroads Primary; Pultneytown Primary; and South Primary.
Sutherland: Dornoch Academy; Stoer Primary.
Ross: Gairloch Academy; Hilton of Cadboll Primary; Inver Primary.
Lochaber: Acharacle Primary.
Inverness: Culloden Academy.

Steve Barron, Depute Chief Executive and Director of Housing and Property, said: “There has been a great deal of interest and some concern about the planning and installation of wind turbines on school sites. As a result of this, we commenced a review of the risk assessment process and the installations of wind turbines at Council schools. That review has focused on reports from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) which provided a risk assessment tool and independent assessments for each school site.
“The Council takes the issue of safety within schools very seriously and where additional measures are deemed necessary these will be planned and undertaken in consultation with Head Teachers and the Council’s Health and Safety team.
“It is important to note the continued commitment of the Council to reducing carbon emissions and energy costs through the use of renewable energy technologies. The deployment of wind turbines forms an important part of our plans to meet challenging national targets for carbon reduction. Following the proper assessment of risks, selection of appropriate locations and deployment of protective measures we intend to continue with our turbine programme.
““The work has provided us with an effective set of assessment tools which will be applied to the planning and design of future micro turbine installations. These are excellent investments for the Council both in terms of carbon reduction and financial return.”
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