Anger over Northumberland wind farm's road repairs payment

Anger has been voiced over the level of a wind farm developer's contribution to road repairs in Northumberland

A lorry delivering wind turbine parts to the site at Wingates, near Longhorsley
A lorry delivering wind turbine parts to the site at Wingates, near Longhorsley

Anger has been voiced after it emerged a company which built a wind farm in Northumberland has only paid £14,000 towards road repairs.

Infinis is the company behind six 110m turbines at Wingates, near Longhorsley, with the scheme now operational.

In the nine-month construction process, a forecast 6,500-plus heavy good vehicle journeys were made on the area’s minor roads for delivery of massive turbine parts.

Residents and a county councillor say the roads suffered considerable damage as a result.

And they have been infuriated to discover that the company has only been asked to pay £14,190 by Northumberland County Council as a contribution to road repairs in the area.

They claim a fee, far higher, should have been agreed based on the level of damage using pre-determined criteria.

Glen Sanderson, county councillor for Longhorsley, tabled a question at a recent meeting of the authority on the issue.

He is concerned that taxpayers will be left to pick up the bill for repairs which should have been paid for by the developer and says he has been told that the cost of planned work in the area far exceeds £14,000.

The councillor said last night: “I think it is absolutely scandalous that they are getting away scot free. They stand to make £25m over the next 20 years from this wind farm.

“We have to make sure that planning and highways department work a lot better together in future.”

John Thompson, of the Wingates not Wind Farms action group, said an environmental impact assessment by Infinis as part of its planning application revealed there would be 6,556 HGV journeys during the construction process.

He has been out in recent weeks taking photographs of damage to roads in the area.

Mr Thompson questioned how the company’s contribution had been arrived at and said: “The volume of traffic which the wind farm involved was a significant increase and has got to have been a major contributor to the damage.”

A county council spokesman said: “The level of existing damage to the highway network and the damage caused by other traffic was taken into account in order to determine the extent of damage that could have reasonably been expected to have been caused by the wind farm construction traffic.

“The sum was then agreed with the wind farm developer.”

Infinis declined to comment.

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