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Turbines branded ticking timebombs

DOZENS of 200ft wind turbines identical to the stricken model which collapsed in Co Tyrone remain in operation across Ireland, despite being branded "ticking time bombs."

Manufacturers Nordex confirmed last night they have installed 58 N80/2500 turbine in Ireland - 44 in the north and 14 in the south.

They also have 119 of their N90/2500 model running.

Spokesman Ralf Peters said the Screggagh wind farm near Fintona had been shut down only "as a precaution" and other sites remain active.

The turbine was one of eight at the farm, which opened in 2011 at a total cost of £26 million.

"The investigation is still running (data analysis and at site).

"At that point we are not advising any operators of N80/2500 to turn off their wind farms," he said.

Mr Peters insisted that an order for 26 wind turbines for a project in Cork will go ahead.

Green Energy Supply is to install turbines in Knockduff in August, after inking the deal with Nordex last month.

They are a higher speed model.

He insisted the company "have not seen a comparable incident before", with the N80/2500 manufactured since 2001 and installed in Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, UK, Japan and China.

However, campaigners are pressing for a complete review of distances from wind turbines to homes, schools and workplaces.

Owen McMullan from West Tyrone against Wind Turbines called for a complete halt on all industrial wind turbines operation until the out-come of the independent investigations.

"These industrial wind turbines are ticking time bombs and fire hazards."

He said the Department of the Environment is "severely lacking in their duty of care", with policies offering "no protection whatsoever to its citizens."

A department spokeswoman said it is finalising its \Strategic Planning Policy Statement', which "seeks to shape clear and concise planning policy."

However, she added it already "considers the potential impacts on public safety, human health and residential amenity in the determination of all planning applications for wind turbines and wind farms."

In 2012, Nordex was fined £26,000 after admitting health and safety failings at a site in Stirlingshire where a 19-year-old worker fell 100ft down a turbine to his death.

And in September 2013 an eight-year-old Nordex turbine in a German wind farm reportedly caught fire.

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