Innovative Design For Windy Bank

March 25, 2010 | Community News

More than 300 rotating circular discs are set to help protect birdlife in the vicinity of a proposed wind farm development in Teesdale.

County Durham firm Banks Developments has been working with the local arm of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to ensure as much as possible is done to help local birdlife see and avoid the guy-wires on the 60m test mast that now stands on the site of the proposed Windy Bank wind farm.

The orange discs, which are 14cm in diameter, have been spaced out at 2.5m to 5m intervals on the mast’s guy-wires, to ensure maximum visibility to birds flying around the area.

Detailed plans for the scheme are still in development, but it is expected that it would encompass between five and nine turbines with a tip heights of approximately 110m, and would produce enough renewable energy to power up to 11,500 homes.

The proposed site is in an area that was identified as being suitable for wind development in the North East England Renewable Energy Strategy document.

From existing data on the strength of the wind in the local area, and Banks own experience at nearby Tow Law, the site is known to have a good wind resource. The wind mast will provide extra data to make sure the right turbine can be selected to capture the most wind energy.

Martin Kerby, the RSPB’s planning officer for the north east, says: “As the North Pennines is ahighly important area for breeding waders, the RSPB was concerned that the guy-wires of the mast could cause collisions to flying birds.

“We are pleased thatboth Durham County Council and Banks Developmentshave taken our concerns seriously, and that these markers have been put up along the guys so birds can see and avoid them.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “Minimising the environmental impact of all our operations is a key priority for Banks and we started work with the RSPB at a very early stage of this project to best understand how birds use the area to ensure that we can protect those that use the site.

“The test mast looks very different to others of its type as a result, and we’ve ensured that this will not impact on the validity of the data that we gather for future assessment.

“The information we get from the test mast will enable us to accurately assess the best type of turbine to put forward for installation at the Windy Bank site, and we will continue to work as closely as possible with local communities to highlight progress on the project as it is made.”

A full public consultation exercise around the proposals is currently being undertaken by Tow Law-based Banks, the findings of which will influence the final proposal put forward for the Windy Bank scheme.

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