September 26, 2012

Wind turbine compensation cash fear of Otterburn parish leader

by Paul Tully, The Journal | Sep 26 2012 |

A village parish leader says he will not accept compensation from a wind energy giant which should be earmarked for a neighbouring district.

John Hartshorne, chair of Otterburn Parish Council, says any compensation paid by EDF Renewables for the A696 road closure in May should not come from a community fund meant to benefit the immediate area of the Green Rigg wind farm at Ridsdale, eight miles away.

Otterburn was cut off for five working days at the end of May when a turbine transporter crashed on the A696 en route to Green Rigg.

EDF’s contract hauliers McFadyens of Campbeltown, Scotland, have paid out compensation to traders in Otterburn who suffered business losses.

The parish is also seeking compensation and has suggested a contribution from EDF to either the village sports centre, or towards a road crossing.

Coun Hartshorne spoke last week to EDF Project Manager Duncan Fone, who indicated that any money would come from the community fund that energy companies set up to aid communities adjacent to windfarm developments.

But Coun Hartshorne said: “I refuse to take money from a fund which is intended not for us but for the Corsenside district, which includes Ridsdale, West Woodburn and East Woodburn.

“Otterburn is eight miles from Corsenside and compensation to us should come from EDF’s pocket, not Corsenside’s. If we took money that is intended for a neighbouring region, it would create a conflict, and that would be wrong.

“EDF needs to take control of the situation and get it sorted.

“It was certainly the impression I was given that they were intending to make any payment from the community fund. And, importantly, finance from EDF for projects within Otterburn would then be match-funded from other sources.”

The turbine tower destined for Green Rigg, near Ridsdale, was being transported from Blyth on the A696 after Northumberland County Council nominated a “safe” alternative to the A68.

The giant transporter was unable to negotiate the undulating ridges of the A68, and “grounded” on the surface.

The abnormal load, travelling without escort, toppled off the road into a ditch north of Otterburn early in the morning, damaging the road surface and necessitating extensive repairs which isolated Otterburn.

EDF made no comment yesterday.

If we took money that is intended for a neighbouring region, it would create a conflict

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