Energy company chiefs are set to make a new compensation payment to the Northumberland village cut off by a wind turbine transporter crash seven months ago.
EDF Energy Renewables is organising an £18,000 donation payment to Otterburn Parish Council over and above compensation it has already paid to three local businesses.
The figure, agreed by EDF in liaison with haulage contractors McFadyens of Scotland, will be paid this month through an intermediate community trust fund.
Trading losses in Otterburn reached thousands of pounds when the main A696 approach road was sealed off for a full week after a turbine transporter heading to the Green Rigg wind farm site near Ridsdale toppled into a roadside ditch.
A 45m turbine part badly damaged the road surface and the A696 had to be closed for five working days for repairs.
Otterburn Parish Council also sought a five-figure sum in compensation from EDF.
And yesterday parish council chairman John Hartshorne said: “Agreement has been reached and we are happy with £18,000, given the circumstances.
“The important thing is that it is separate to the community fund that EDF has to set up for the region immediately around the wind farm – which in this case is eight miles away from Otterburn.
“This payment does not impact on that community fund at all. It is extra money in respect of the harm Otterburn itself suffered.”
Details of the payment are due to be finalised at a meeting in Otterburn on January 16.
But the new year windfall will bring a major boost to the parish, which in 2012 also suffered from flooding, further road closures and power cuts. Two of the village’s three hotels, Otterburn Hall and the Percy Arms, closed down as the recession hit hard.
A series of power cuts around Christmas meant a generator had to be installed in the village – though even that ran out of fuel late on Sunday night and cut off electricity again for several hours before being replenished.
Coun Hartshorne added: “We have had a difficult year in the village, so this does bring some welcome relief.
“We now have to decide how the money will be spent, but there are issues such as a road crossing and much-needed repairs to the village sports centre.
“They are at the top of the list, but we will consider every option before making final decisions.”
The 18-turbine wind farm at Green Rigg, which began full operation in August, is a major investment by EDF, which has interests in mainland Europe as well as the UK.
In November, EDF formally thanked the local Northumbrian community for its “patience” during the 15-month construction programme.
Chief executive Christian Egal said Green Rigg was a key addition to EDF’s operational portfolio which would generate energy for 19,000 homes. A total of £5m has been spent locally on materials, plant, labour and accommodation.
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