THE STRICKEN wind turbine tower which brought a Northumberland village to a halt said its goodbyes yesterday, after four days in a roadside ditch.
The 45-metre turbine came a cropper on Monday when the transporter carrying it through the county toppled off the main A696, two miles south of Otterburn.
Police closed the road for recovery and repair, leaving village traders fuming, and counting their losses.
The A696 is due to reopen late this afternoon, but last night the French-based company responsible for the turbine issued an apology to villagers and promised to try to “mitigate” the impact.
Hauliers were brought in to winch the turbine tower onto a wagon for the escorted journey back to Blyth harbour.
The convoy was later seen going through the narrow centre of Ponteland, with traffic cleared from the road.
Otterburn traders are combining to take legal action against EDF for losses running into thousands of pounds and as high as 50% of normal income.
A spokesman for EDF Renewables said: “We are aware this incident has caused the local community some inconvenience and will be working with the company involved to look at how that inconvenience can be mitigated.
“The road has been closed for safety reasons and will remain so until the end of the week. Traffic management diversions are in place.
“We have managed to lift the tower section onto a HGV. The road needed to be closed as we had to have a crane in place to lift the tower section back onto a HGV.
“Now the tower section has been lifted, we need to return the road and the land surrounding the road to its former condition.”
Originally, the route for abnormal loads to the Green Rigg wind farm site near Ridsdale was designated as the A68.
But when a trial run revealed the outsize transporters “grounded” on the switchback A68, a delegated- powers decision was taken by Northumberland County Council on May 16 to re-route via the A696.
Twelve days later, the transporter belonging to McFadyen’s of Campbeltown in Scotland came off the road, to the anger of locals who knew nothing of the change of route.
Anti-wind farm campaigner Bill Short, who lives close to the A696 at Kirkwhelpington, said: “Some traffic going up the A696 was sent off to the right to get them out of the way.
“In Ponteland, the transporter had to come round the wrong side of the roundabout and the bridge was cleared of traffic, causing quite a long delay.”
Read our other stories on the Otterburn wind turbine transporter
Otterburn A696 ditch wind turbine is finally moved
Otterburn traders to seek compensation from wind farm group
Wind turbine carrier crashed on A696 'safe' route
A696 near Otterburn closed after turbine transporter crash