Traders are set to be given a face-to-face meeting with an energy giant as they continue their fight for compensation after the road to their remote village was closed for five days.
Businesses in Otterburn, Northumberland, say they incurred losses running into thousands of pounds when the A696 had to be shut last month after a giant wind turbine transporter toppled into a roadside ditch.
Several of them are lining up a compensation claim for loss of up to 50% of trade over the five days against French-based EDF Renewables.
The transporter was taking turbine parts to EDF’s wind farm construction site at Green Rigg near Ridsdale when the accident happened.
Now Hexham MP Guy Opperman is setting up a meeting between the traders and EDF officials in Otterburn next month.
Mr Opperman met EDF Renewables chief executive, Christian Egal, in the House of Commons this week to question him about what the company plans to do to compensate the businesses.
Yesterday he said: “We had a very constructive meeting and it was a useful opportunity to discuss my concerns face-to-face. My main focus was to ensure that those who have lost out receive the compensation they deserve and we find a way forward.
“Clearly, the buck has to stop somewhere. It is my understanding that McFadyen, the transporter, are liable and the compensation will be processed through their insurers. However, I will continue to work on this issue until we get a resolution.”
The A696 into Otterburn was blocked in both directions after the transporter slid into the ditch at the end of May. It took five days to carry out recovery and repair.
Local businesses say the road closure severely hit trade at what is one of the busiest times of the year. They include Gordon Moore, managing director of the village’s Border Reivers store, who has said he will withold his business rates until a compensation deal has been agreed.
Yesterday Mr Moore, who runs the business with his wife Joanne, said he would be turning up at the public meeting with EDF with a fully itemised bill for his losses.
“I hope we might be able to shame EDF into writing some cheques out. Personally that is what I will be pushing for. So far EDF have made soothing noises. Vestas, who run the show for them at Green Rigg, say it is down to McFadyen, and McFadyen wont reply to my emails.
“EDF could solve this by writing some cheques out and make the problem go away overnight. Once it gets into the hands of insurers it could go on for months or years.
“Compensation needs to be paid, and paid now, not next year, because the situation has created cash flow problems. I will not be replacing two members of staff who are leaving us soon because I have to make up for money we have lost. So you could say this has already caused job losses in Otterburn.”
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