FURTHER questions have been raised about the ability of Northumberland’s roads to cope with massive wind turbines after a test delivery ended in failure.
A wind farm developer carried out a turbine blade delivery test at a site near Berwick, but the exercise saw the long delivery vehicle spend around 30 minutes trying to negotiate a sharp bend on a country road near the site.
After eventually making it through that bend, the mission was aborted after the vehicle could not negotiate another junction.
As a result, the company involved has had to set out a new route to get its turbine blades to the wind farm site and apply for planning permission for a second access track there.
The incident has raised further doubts about the ability of Northumberland’s minor roads to cope with deliveries of massive turbine parts.
Last month, a giant turbine transporter toppled into a roadside ditch on the A696 in Northumberland, causing it to be closed for five days.
Last night, an anti-wind campaigner called for a thorough assessment of whether the new proposed route is suitable.
Developer Force 9 Energy has planning permission to erect six turbines at Barmoor, after the Government overturned Berwick Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission in 2010.
Last December, the company carried out the test delivery, in which a long vehicle attempted the developer’s intended route for getting turbine parts from the town’s docks to the farm site, to see whether it was achievable.
However, the vehicle got into difficulty when trying to negotiate a bend on the B6525 at Barmoor Lane End, where there was a stone wall on one side of the road and cottages on the other.
It eventually managed to continue its journey after around 30 minutes.
However, it is understood the vehicle could not negotiate the road’s junction with the B6353 and the exercise had to be aborted. The company has as a result had to revise its intended route to instead take turbine parts via Wooler and Doddington.
It has also been forced to apply to Northumberland County Council for planning permission for a second access track, at Barmoor Red House Farm, to take the turbine parts from the road network to their intended location.
Force 9 is still seeking to develop the original access track, so the extendable vehicles can return to Berwick using the shorter route once they have made their delivery and been reduced in size.
Last night, Andrew Joicey, of the Save our Unspoilt Landscape group which fought the Barmoor scheme, queried whether the developer had checked the delivery route when applying for permission in the first place.
He claimed the new application would involve “another 1.5km of road making and further disruption”.
Mr Joicey said: “In view of what is happening at Otterburn, a lot of people are hoping that the county council make a proper assessment of whether that route is suitable in bringing in that number of turbine blades. They are beginning to realise the impact these things have on the transport network.”
Force 9 Energy was not available for comment yesterday.