May 30, 2012

‘Northumberland says no to wind’: Turbine is lost in crash and within hours protesters have covered it in graffiti

By Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, 30 May 2012

By driving down this secluded road developers of a controversial wind farm believed they could avoid the protests.

But when a giant lorry carrying turbine parts spilled its cargo after crashing into a ditch, activists didn’t take long to track it down.

Lying on its side in the beautiful English countryside the giant column was sprayed with ‘Northumberland says no to wind’ to show opposition to the nearby Green Rigg site.

On Monday morning a giant transporter tumbled off the winding A696 south of Otterburn in the county, leaving the driver unhurt but his cargo completely marooned.

Not long afterwards an individual with a spray can left their mark.

Locals have questioned why the road was chosen anyway as it has a number of hazards, including tight bends, which caused the wheels of the lorry to clip a kerb before the crash.

The council chose it as a ‘safe’ route but it proved too difficult.

Tony Patrick of the Middle Hill Action Group, which is fighting wind farm plans at Elsdon, said: ‘It just seems crazy to go on this route.

‘If it had negotiated this bend OK, there are other tight bends.’

The road is likely to remain closed until Friday for recovery and repairs, and long diversions are in place.

A crane platform has to be built and part of a fence there may be removed to allow 600 tonnes of hardcore to be set as a foundation before it is moved.

Robert Newton, a design company director who was driving behind the slow-moving convoy at 6am on Monday, said: ‘As the centre of mass then went past the outside point of contact of the tyres, the vehicle toppled over.

‘Anything other than an embankment there – a pavement, flat verge or cutting – and the driver would have possibly caught it.

‘I just slammed my brakes on as soon as I saw what was happening.’

But two weeks before the accident highways and transport experts decided abnormal loads carrying turbine parts to Green Rigg wind farm must take another route, this one.

The local council said the giant lorries should travel away, north, on the A696 before turning back onto the A68 south of Otterburn because on the other route large vehicles could also get stuck.

Northumberland County Council said: ‘An alternative route was therefore identified and discussed with the Highways Agency and our Highways team.’

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