Banks News

Banks Renewables suspends York wind farm plans in light of local renewables planning policy uncertainty

Plans for a new wind farm to the south west of York are being suspended in the light of continuing uncertainty about the local planning regime.

Banks Renewables put forward plans for the proposed Hagg Wood wind farm, which would have been situated on agricultural land to the west of Copmanthorpe, at the start of 2011.

Despite being recommended for approval by the City of York Council’s officers, a planning application for a test wind mast on the site was rejected by its Planning Committee in June last year, even though the decision came against guidance from existing planning policies.

Since then, Banks has been reviewing the different options available for taking the project forward in advance of the adoption of the new Core Strategy for the City of York area, which will be the reference point for all development and change in the area, including renewable energy schemes, for the next 20 years

However, the removal of the Strategy from examination earlier this year has created further uncertainty over local renewables policy, and with no clear indication over when the document will be finalised, taking the Hagg Wood scheme forward has become impractical in the immediate future. 

In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, the Hagg Wood scheme would have brought a range of other benefits to the local area, including new jobs and contract tendering opportunities for local businesses around different aspects of the project’s development.  Substantial new funding for community and environmental improvements would also have been made available, along with new training opportunities for local young people.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “It’s disappointing for us to have to take this decision, but the continuing uncertainty about local renewables planning policy makes it unsustainable for us to continue to take this scheme forward at this time. 

“We still believe that Hagg Wood would be a well thought-out and sensibly-sited scheme that would have the potential to both make a major contribution to low carbon energy generation in North Yorkshire, and to also bring a range of valuable economic, employment, environmental and community benefits to the local area. 

“The imperative to generate more of the energy that we all consume from renewable sources is getting ever stronger, and once the updated Core Strategy is in place, we will look to work with the Council to identify possible locations for renewable energy developments in the York area.”

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