Wind Turbines and Machinery Directive

Wind Turbines and Machinery Directive

In  2013 a wind turbine collapsed in a wind farm in Loughderryduff Co. Donegal. A short time later a blade flew off a wind turbine in Corkermore also in Co. Donegal. Whilst Vestas, the manufacturer of Loughderryduff wind turbine, carried out an investigation, the conclusions of this investigation were never published, even though a copy of the investigation report was given to Donegal County Council. The EU Commission recognises wind turbines as machines as defined by The Machinery Directive and that Article 4 of the Machinery Directive, Market Surveillance, can be applied to wind turbines. This is to determine if the wind turbine type in question was validly CE certified and mechanically complies with The Machinery Directive. Also to ensure that while operating, the wind turbine type in question does not impact on the health and safety of domestic animals, people or property. The Machinery Directive states, that the material used in machinery must be robust enough not to breakup while operating. The question must be asked why Donegal County Council did not forward a copy of this report to The Health and Safety Authority, the organisation responsible, to check the adequacy of the machine types CE Certification and its compliance with The Machinery Directive? “Section 1.3.2 Risk of break up during operation The various parts of machinery and their linkages must be able to withstand the stresses to which they are subject when used. The durability of the materials used must be adequate for the nature of the working environment foreseen by the manufacturer or his authorized representative, in particular as regards the phenomena of fatigue, ageing, corrosion and abrasion” This section of the...
Doubtful intent in Minister’s review

Doubtful intent in Minister’s review

Minister Kelly’s announcement on Sunday 26th July of an organisational review of An Bord Pleanala to ensure that it is appropriately positioned to meet future challenges has had a mixed response. The Bord was established in 1976 and this will be effectively the first time in its forty year history that it will have been subject to such a review. The terms of reference for the review do not in any way indicate that this review is intended to make the workings of The Bord more transparent or that the review will do anything to dispel public disquiet at how it reaches its decisions. In subsequent media interviews following his announcement of the planned review, the Minister commented on the number of litigation proceedings taken against decisions of The Bord, but again the terms of reference give no indication as to how this review can address the reasons for that increase in litigation. While the terms of reference comment on the increase in litigation in the area of The Bord’s work and seek measures required to address these, I cannot see any meaningful possibilities within those terms of reference that will affect change. The level of discretion afforded to The Bord in making determinations is a serious flaw in its remit. While The Bord has played a very important role in regulating planning in its forty years of existence and it should be acknowledged that it acted as a curtailment for even worse excesses during the Celtic Tiger boom years, its role in determining applications for wind farms and how it fulfills its obligations in undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments is...