Revised plans for a new wind farm to the north east of Darlington have been approved by Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee.
County Durham firm Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, put forward plans for the six turbine Moor House Wind Farm, which will be sited on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1.
The Moor House scheme, which is a kilometre away from Barmpton and more than two kilometres from the next nearest village, will involve a £17.5 million investment by Banks.
It will have an installed capacity of up to 15MW, and when fully operational, will be able to produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity requirements of approximately 8,400 homes.
It will also provide a major boost for the regional economy, with businesses able to tender for contracts worth up to £4.5million during the site development and construction phases of the scheme.
In addition to this, a community benefits fund will also run alongside the wind farm, offering £375,000 of funding over the 25-year lifetime of the scheme for local community groups, environmental and voluntary projects, in order to provide tangible long-term benefits for the community from Banks’ presence there.
A further £375,000 will also be made available over the same period to part-fund apprenticeships for local young people and businesses, to help improve the long-term employment prospects of a generation of local young people.
Banks has agreed to provide a comprehensive mitigation package in order to address the concerns of Durham Tees Valley Airport and this will be the subject of a planning condition.
The company had originally put forward a ten turbine scheme for the site, but developed a new scheme comprising fewer turbines and covering a significantly smaller area in light of concerns expressed last year by Council’s planning committee over the original proposal’s visual impact
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “We have listened to the planning committees’ concerns regarding the scale of our previous application. The amended scheme is well-designed and situated in an entirely appropriate location, and we are very pleased that Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee has supported this view with their judgement.
“The Moor House Wind Farm represents a £17.5 million investment that will bring with it a wide range of benefits, from new jobs in the construction of the scheme and contract opportunities worth up to £4.5 million for which local firms could bid through to a £750,000 funding package for community improvements and a training scheme for local young people. We also hope to ease fuel poverty in the area by helping to fund the establishment of a Warm Zone in Darlington.
“Sharing the benefits of the schemes that we operate with the communities in which they are situated in this way is part of Banks’ long-term policy for ensuring that people living in these areas gain tangible, long-term advantages from our presence there.
“We’re grateful for the support we’ve had from many local people who recognise the importance of generating more of the energy we all use from renewable sources, and we will continue to work closely with all relevant parties across local communities to ensure they are fully aware of the progress of the scheme.
“We look forward to receiving the planning certificate, so that we can commence preparations for starting work on the site.”