August 10, 2011 | Community News
A planning application for a proposed new wind farm in County Durham has been submitted to Durham County Council.
County Durham firm Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, is looking to make a £12.5m investment in the the proposed Windy Bank Wind Farm, which would be situated on agricultural land between the village of Woodland and the southern edge of Hamsterley Forest.
The scheme encompasses five turbines with a tip height of up to 115m, and would have an installed capacity of up to 12.5MW, which would be enough to meet the annual energy requirements of around 7,200 homes.
If the planning application is approved local firms would have the opportunity to tender for a range of contracts on site.
A community benefits fund of up to £25,000 per year would also be put in place if the scheme is passed, providing funding for local projects and voluntary groups during the lifetime of the scheme in order to ensure that a positive long-term legacy results from its presence in the area.
The chosen site falls inside an area that was identified as being suitable for wind development in both the North East England Renewable Energy Strategy document, and in a subsequent independent report prepared by consultants Ove Arup for the North East Assembly.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “We’ve undertaken a great deal of work over the last two years to ensure that we put forward a scheme that would both produce green electrictiy and would be environmentally acceptable for the location in which it sits, and we believe we have succeeded in our ambitions to do this.
“The Windy Bank scheme represents a major investment by Banks at a time when very few firms are undertaking capital projects of this size, and this would clearly have a positive impact on the local economy, especially with the availability of tenders for which local firms could bid.
“We have worked extremely hard across the communities surrounding the Windy Bank site, and the feedback and comments we have gathered have played an important part in shaping the detail of the final planning application we have now put forward.
“This community work has revealed a significant degree of support in the area from people who recognise the importance of generating increasing amounts of the energy that we’re all consuming from renewable sources, and we’re confident that the merits of the scheme will be recognised by Durham County Council’s planning committee.”