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Turbines to continue causing traffic misery along A96 despite protests

Dorenell turbines on the move in Elgin.
Dorenell turbines on the move in Elgin.

An energy firm has ruled out transporting huge turbine parts overnight despite protests from motorists left frustrated by traffic delays.

Massive machinery is being slowly ferried along the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road to reach the Dorenell wind farm near Dufftown, causing large tailbacks on a regular basis.

Several motorists have raised complaints about the congestion, with one trader fearful of the impact the prolonged journey times could have on his delivery business.

And in Elgin, the Tesco supermarket recently had to warn customers over the tannoy system that they would be unable to leave its car park for 20 minutes as the convoy crawled past.

Moray MP, Douglas Ross, said he “understands the frustrations” shared by many locals and recently took up the matter on behalf of his constituents.

Mr Ross asked the police and EDF Energy, which runs the wind farm, if it would be possible to deliver the parts when the roads are quieter.

But both have now got back to him to advise that such a move would not be possible.

A letter from Dorenell project director, John Penman, said: “The transportation of turbines relies on abnormal load permits and the availability of a police escort for the convoys.”

Mr Penman added that residents are able to sign up to an alert system to receive text message updates about the deliveries, and confirmed 100 people have so far done so.

Chief Inspector for Moray, Stewart Mackie, explained that the parts had to be delivered during daylight for safety reasons.

He said: “For reasons of safety and to minimise disruption, it is our policy that abnormal loads of this size will not be moved during the hours of darkness or poor visibility, or during rush hour traffic.

“The inherent risks due to visibility are simply too great.”

Mr Ross last night accepted that overnight deliveries would present “unacceptable safety risks”.

He added: “I was contacted by local people who have been seriously delayed by these convoys multiple times.

“I am sorry that proposals suggest to relieve the congestion and frustration are not possible, and the only saving grace is that there are points along the route where the lorries can stop safely to allow traffic to pass.”

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