Campaigners raise issues over wind turbine near St Ives A14 crash site
PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 December 2013
Campaigners opposing plans for a wind turbine say it could lead to more accidents at the A14 St Ives junction.
Measuring 42m, or 138ft, to the tip of the blade, York Green Renewables wants to install the structure at Galley Hill Farm, Cambridge Road, Hemingford Grey.
Esther Harrod, who has urged people to object to the plan, said she believed it would distract drivers using the A14 and the A1096 – and could lead to a catastrophe if it fell.
“Apart from it being sited just within the farm entrance off that A14 slip road, and being so near the 12 banks of overground LPG tanks, the Galley Hill Interchange is a complex and unique junction,” she said.
“We have discovered that on that stretch of road alone between Fenstanton and Godmanchester from 2008-2013, there were 79 recorded accidents. These accidents were injury-related. There are no additional statistics for vehicle-only accidents where no-one was hurt.
“We believe a working turbine of 138ft high so close to the A14 and A1096 would truly be an accident waiting to happen.”
Cambridgeshire County Council, (CCC) which provided the accident statistics, also lists the start of the A1096, where it swings around towards St Ives from over the A14, as officially an “accident cluster”, or blackspot.
There are also fears that in cold weather, ice which forms on the blades could be thrown into the path of traffic, while in sunny conditions, shadow flicker from the blades could also be a distraction, say opponents.
St Ives Town Council has recommended refusing the application. Its response referred to the Highways Agency guidance not recommending putting wind turbines at junctions or accident sites.
Despite the concerns, CCC’s highways department raised no objection. A previous application for a turbine was withdrawn, with Huntingdonshire District Council indicating its proximity to the A14 was among the reasons it would have been unacceptable.
York Renewables says it has addressed previous concerns. It also says planning policy guidance says driver distraction should not be a “material consideration” due to the turbine’s location and scale.