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East Lancs windfarm opponents cheers as turbine lorry breaks down

Villagers cheered as the first delivery of an 110-metre turbine to an East Lancashire windfarm was temporarily halted yesterday.

But an oversized tow-truck managed to save the day on a track off Red Lees Road, Cliviger resulting in the cylindrical structures being safely delivered to Coal Clough windfarm.

Residents in Cliviger have been anticipating the arrival of eight new urban windmills for the ‘repowering’ of the windfarm.

The development comes amid concerns huge delivery trucks would shake the foundations of a number of 19th century properties en-route.

Residents also had concerns about the suitability of the access road built just past Spring View, and over open countryside to the site at Long Causeway.

Yesterday’s hour-long wait, after the initial West of Scotland low-loader encountered mechanical difficulties, was however only a brief glimmer of hope for neighbours.

With a 16-litre tractor unit on hand, the first upright was soon on its way, to kickstart a six-week process which will see turbine convoys, with police motorcycle outriders and escort vans, running from junction 12 of the M65, through Brierfield and along Casterton Avenue and Red Lees Road, in Burnley to their ultimate destination.

Bosses at Scottish Power are happy with their first day of operations – despite the early hiccup – and are pleased they managed to negotiate the village’s tight bends.

Last September a dry run saw the ‘abnormal load’ face difficulties on Red Lees Road, raising fears a plan ‘B’ route may be adopted through nearby Mereclough.

Neighbours insisted that another heavy vehicle, delivering a transformer to the site, also had problems in the early hours of last Thursday.

Retired postman Kevin Robinson, an ex-parish councillor who watched the delivery lorries, said: “They never had these problems when the original windfarm was constructed.”

Neighbour, Mick Smith, added: “They came up here with a massive transformer and got stuck the other day because there was not enough traction.

“The road is only paved so far and then it’s just hardcore.”

Another neighbour, added: “We always thought there would be problems but they said they had a traffic management plan.”

A Scottish Power Renewables spokesman said: “Generally the deliveries today have gone well and according to plan.

“We were pleased with progress through the main route after leaving the motorway.

“At the access road we had a tractor unit on standby to support the main haulage units.

“This is not uncommon on deliveries for turbine components, and the slight delay at the access road will not have any major impact on the wider delivery schedule.”

The next convoys are scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, when the first of the blades are expected to arrive. The turbines have been brought to the site from Liverpool docks by Spanish-owned manufacturer Gamesa.