An amended planning application (Further Environmental Information or FEI) for Lethans has been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit (ECDU) on 25 July 2016.
The FEI reduces the number of turbines proposed from 26 in the original application to 22. Since the planning application was first submitted in March 2015, Banks Renewables has been listening to East Ayrshire Council, the statutory consultees and local residents to understand what the key concerns were in regards to the wind farm. Consequently, five of the most visually prevalent ridge line turbines were removed and one new turbine inserted in a less visually-intrusive part of the site to reduce the landscape and visual impact.
The amended application will be considered by the local planning authority, East Ayrshire Council, in due course and if this is recommended for approval it will be considered by the ECDU by summer 2017. The project, if granted planning permission, will generate significant local economic benefits. The Lethans project has good local community backing, having attracted 420 letters of support during the consultation period after the application was submitted in March 2015.
Banks Renewables is well known for developing partnership schemes that provide nearby communities with a real stake in their local wind farm. Such partnerships are always specifically tailored to local circumstances, as identified by local people. Lethans will be no different. We are working with the local communities around Lethans to develop the partnership scheme that local people want.
Banks Renewables are very proud of the partnerships we work hard with local communities to create. On the Lethans Wind Farm these partnerships will:
• Give the local communities an active role in the development of Lethans Wind Farm
• Enable the local communities to share directly in the project through a stake in the revenue generated
• Provide an opportunity for the local communities to take up ownership of Lethans Wind Farm
• Commit Banks Renewables to using local firms in the construction of Lethans Wind Farm
• Provide meaningful long term employment opportunities for local people through opportunities through the wind farm fund
• Banks Renewables will take forward the proposals for the Lethans Wind Farm hand-in-hand with the local communities around Lethans
Over the few years we have been talking to local people and listening to how you would like to see your share of the revenue from the wind farm benefit your community. The recurring theme from our discussions with local residents, community groups and businesses has been regarding the lack of employment opportunities for local people. In light of this key concern we are currently pulling together a group of partners including local schools, colleges, universities, employers and the council to develop a range of initiatives aimed at increasing the employment opportunities for local people and businesses in the area.
Initiatives may include:
• Subsidy of apprenticeship opportunities tying into necessary training schemes
• Support for local/regional businesses wishing to employ local people
• Support in the form of grants for local start-up businesses
• Additional bursary support for local people wishing to take up further education opportunities
• Support for local people wishing to retrain
This proposed partnership could also support regeneration initiatives in the area. These could include:
• Community regeneration through improving facilities
• Supporting community groups who provide services to various sectors of the community
• Supporting local sports clubs
• Providing sports facilities such as all weather pitches and investment in youth development
If approved, this wind farm will contribute significantly to your local community economically, socially and environmentally.
Renewable technologies enable us to generate clean energy that has a lower environmental impact than conventional technologies. By increasing our capacity for generating green energy we will in turn reduce our greenhouse gases emissions, thereby talking the issue of global warming. As a country we have committed to do this by initially signing the Kyoto Protocol and more recently agreeing to EU targets.
Energy for future generations
Sources of renewable energy will not run out and do not consume finite mineral resources.
Jobs and Economy
The development and maintenance of renewable energy project creates employment in a wide range of sectors. It is estimated that if the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets are met 160,000 jobs would be created.
By generating our own supply of power from sustainable resources we reduce our reliance on other sources of power that are imported. For example the UK currently imports 70% of the coal that it consumes, if this supply were to be restricted in any way we could be vulnerable to power cuts.
What we will do
As part of our development with care approach we are committed to working with communities around our developments to tackle poor energy efficiency and as consequence lower energy bills. We will look to undertake energy audits in your community to establish what can be done to cost effectively reduce energy bills and carbon emissions. We will then work with communities to identify funding that will enable these works to be carried out. For certain projects Banks Community Fund will provide funding. In addition many of our developments have site specific community development funds available to communities to fund projects in the area if the project is successful in gaining planning permission.
The following will be taken into consideration as the design for the site is developed:
• Ecology and Ornithology – A number of specialist ecology and ornithology surveys are currently being undertaken on the site and its immediate surroundings to gain a full understanding of the ecology and ornithology of the site and the sensitivity of species in the area. The findings of these assessments will be taken into account in the design of the site and used to identify opportunities for habitat improvements that could be facilitated by the wind farm. To date no significant constraints have been identified
• Archaeological – There are no scheduled monuments or listed buildings within the site boundary or in the close vicinity and no part of the wind farm would lie within a Garden and Designed Landscape or Conservation Area. An assessment will be undertaken prior to submission of the application to assess the potential effects both direct and the impact on setting of known features of historic importance. No significant effects are anticipated at this stage
• Noise – The site benefits from a remote and shielded location, so no perceptible increase in noise levels is expected at the closest dwelling. The site design will be undertaken in line with ESTU-97 and in consultation with East Ayrshire’s and Dumfries and Galloway’s respective environmental health departments. This process should ensure that the noise emitted from the site will have no adverse effect to properties within the proximity, in line with current practice. Where any properties are adversely effected suitable mitigation will be put in place
• Transport – Access routes to the site have been carefully assessed to ensure that wind turbine components can be delivered safely and with minimal disruption to the public. We are satisfied that this is the case. As part of the planning application process a traffic assessment will be undertaken to ensure that any increase traffic loadings (including for abnormal load deliveries) cause minimum impact to the existing road network, and that we provide mitigation measures where necessary
• Grid – A number of connection options are currently being examined. Whichever route is chosen will be designed to avoid scenic and sensitive areas. The grid connection will be subject to a separate environmental impact assessment and application process
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