Counting the cost of damage caused by gale force winds
HOMEOWNERS and businesses were today counting the cost of the impact of gale force winds in North East Lincolnshire.
The area escaped the battering suffered by other parts of the UK, but gusts of up to 70mph were recorded in Lincolnshire.
Although it was bad news for many people clearing up debris in gardens and from damaged roofs, it was good news for wind power generation companies.
They were celebrating their best year for wind in 2011. The wind turbines at Lincolnshire's largest on-shore wind farm at Conisholme, near North Somercotes, were at their peak of performance.
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Ecotricity, the company that operates the 21 turbines said last year had been its most efficient since they were erected in April 2008.
The company had an 18 per cent increase in power generation last year thanks to increased winds.
A spokeswoman said: "Wind energy now supplies more than 3.3 million homes in the UK. Even when it feels like a strong wind isn't blowing near you, it will be somewhere.
"We could power the country several times over using this free, never-ending source of fuel."
Wind speeds in Lincolnshire will maintain an average of 15 to 20mph over the next week, according to the Met Office.
Chris Holden, offshore operations manager for RES, which provides technical support for wind farms in the North Sea, said: "We haven't been sailing from Grimsby to the wind turbines because of the marine conditions out in the Humber.
"There are about 20 vessels in the docks operating normally.
"The weather conditions are greater than we would normally experience.
"However, we do have what we call weather days, when we cannot work because of the high winds, so this has just added to that.
"The good thing is that the strong winds have helped with power generation.
"There does come a point when the wind turbines have to stop, but we haven't reached that yet."
RES provides technical support for the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms as wells as the Lincs wind farm, which is under construction.
Humberside Airport passengers had little disruption caused by high winds, except for a delay for those on an inbound flight from Holland, which was held up before take-off.
Only motorists encountering fallen trees in Lincolnshire were affected, but haulage firms suffered delays due to the closure of the Humber Bridge to high-sided vehicles.
Mick Wilkinson, managing director of Quayside fish distribution firm, said: "The drivers are taking things carefully.
"Hopefully things will soon get back to normal after a few late deliveries. But customers have been understanding."
There were a total of 34 trees toppled onto roads in Lincolnshire and Wingate Road, Grimsby, was temporarily closed after a street lamp was blown down at 9pm on Wednesday.
Among the householders counting the cost of damage was a Healing woman whose back wall blew down just minutes after a family walked past.
Richard Borrill-Townsend, of Ashleigh Court, told how he had just visited an elderly relative living nearby with his daughter-in-law Kyla, when a 7ft-high wall, which extended more than 30ft, collapsed on to the pavement.
He said: "We were lucky. We had just walked past it. It was shocking. We are very glad no one was under it."
The homeowner, who did not wish to be named, said it was the worst storm in the 20 years she had lived there.
She said: "Thankfully, no one was hurt."
Storm damage throughout the borough was minor compared with the impact winter weather had exactly a year ago when roads became impassable due to snow and ice.
As a precaution, North East Lincolnshire Council bought extra supplies of salt for this winter. On average, the council uses about 2,200 tonnes of salt during the winter season.