A North-east community council has hit out at an oil company after a heavy-duty crane travelling to its site fell into a ditch.
Members of the Echt and Skene Community Council have objected to the use of access roads by Aleron Subsea Limited, after a crane on its way to the South Fornet business centre in Westhill fell into a roadside ditch when the narrow edge of the road gave way under its weight last week.
Fiona Bick, chairwoman of the Echt and Skene Community Council, believes the subsea equipment company’s current location is inappropriate for the surrounding area, calling it a “folly” to operate at South Fornet.
She said: “One of the main reasons for locals objecting to the development is the inadequacy of the access roads to cope with the heavy goods vehicles and mobile cranes which are needed to transport the company’s ROVs and associated equipment.”
Aleron Subsea issued a statement explaining that crane contractor company Whytes had employed a third party to transport the goods and had failed to supply guidance that the U102c road was unsuitable.
Gary McConnell, business development manager at Aleron Subsea, said: “There are three different roads that lead to our site and as a precaution we have always had a policy to our contractors including Whytes (the crane contractor) that they take the road that comes up past BA Stores on the B977 or to turn off the A96 beside Blackburn as the easiest routes.
“In this particular incident Whytes contracted in a 3rd party and this advice wasn’t followed.”
He added: “This was an unfortunate incident for the crane operator and we made sure our contractors are clear on the recommendations.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s Brian Strachan, roads and landscape services manager for Garioch, said: “There are currently no width or weight restrictions on any of the three roads that serve as access to South Fornet. We are aware of the recent incident involving a crane and while the road itself did not collapse we have repaired the verge and made the area safe.”
Whytes Crane Hire declined to comment.