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Otterburn wind turbine transporter compensation hopes rise

The compensation wrangle which followed a wind turbine transporter crash four months ago could be nearing a conclusion.

The main A696 was closed for five days with surface damage after the turbine transporter toppled over two miles south of Otterburn. The shutdown hit trade in the village.

Hexham MP Guy Opperman and village traders met representatives of energy company EDF Renewables and contract hauliers McFadyens in July to press compensation claims. Now messages have been received indicating that payments could be imminent.

Clive Emerson of the Percy Arms Hotel said yesterday: “A message from a third party, which I believe is the insurance company, has come through.

“The message I got seemed positive and said payments would be made shortly.

“It is looking hopeful that we may be getting somewhere at last.”

Gordon Moore of the Border Reiver village shop in Otterburn said: “I have had no direct contact myself yet, but understand others have.

“Last week McFadyens said they hoped to have something in place by the end of August, now they are talking about issuing cheques.”

McFadyens, of Cambpeltown, Argyll, was unavailable for comment yesterday and has never spoken publicly on the claims.

But at the meeting with traders in Otterburn on July 16, the firm’s transport manager Charles McFadyen apologised for the accident and its consequences.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but hopefully we will put things right,” he said.

The 45m (147ft) turbine tower was en route to the Green Rigg wind farm at Ridsdale without a police escort when it came off the road at 6am on May 28.

Police ordered closure of the damaged road and traders said losses in the following week ran as high as 50%, amounting to thousands of pounds each.

The A696 was being used under delegated county council authority after the designated A68 route was found to be unsuitable for abnormal loads.

The underside of the giant transporters grounded on the humps and inclines of the undulating A68, so the council gave permission for the alternative A696 route to be used.

But its tight turns and narrow width also proved unsuitable, to the annoyance of locals who had not been informed of the alternative route plan.