Major ‘warm zone’ scheme planned for Lancaster area

October 19, 2011 | Community News

Plans designed to tackle fuel poverty in the Lancaster area are set to be discussed at a special event in early November.

Community leaders, local environmental officers, elected representatives, public health experts and members of the public are invited to attend the Warm Zone information event, which will take place from 11.30am on Tuesday 1st November at Lancaster Town Hall.

The free event is designed to showcase how the Warm Zone initiative could deliver practical measures to local homes, in order to help to alleviate fuel poverty and improve domestic energy efficiency on a district wide basis, through means including cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.

Research carried out by the Department of Energy & Climate Change found that over one in five households in the Lancaster District are in fuel poverty, which is defined as occurring when more than ten per cent of household income is spent on heating, and with energy prices continuing to rise, more and more people in the area are in danger of falling into this category.

Setting up a Warm Zone scheme has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of improving the energy efficiency of the housing in a given area, and thus tackling fuel poverty, with locations including Newcastle, North Staffordshire and Northumberland already having seen remarkable results through the Warm Zone approach.

Speakers at the event will include Warm Zone managing director William Gillis and Phil Dyke, development director at renewable energy firm Banks Renewables.

Banks has pledged to provide an investment of around £50,000 to set up a Warm Zone for Lancaster if their application for a three turbine wind farm at Heysham South is approved, and has already successfully adopted this approach in South Yorkshire, where a Warm Zone has been set up in conjunction with the approval of the Penny Hill Wind Farm near Rotherham.

Paul Maplethorpe, a representative of the Rotherham Warm Zone scheme will also be attending the event, to outline his community’s experience of how it works in practice and to highlight the benefits they have enjoyed as a result of working with Banks and Warm Zones on the programme.

Banks is looking to make a £7.5m investment in the Heysham South wind farm, which would be situated on agricultural land to the south of the A683, on a site which falls within an area that has previously been identified by the council as appropriate and where wind farm development should be promoted and encouraged

The scheme would consist of three turbines with a maximum tip height of 125m, and would have an installed capacity of up to 7.5MW, which is enough to meet the annual power requirements of around 4,200 homes.

Between ten and fifty people would be employed on the site at any one time during the site preparation and construction phases of the project, with a further 50 people employed through the Warm Zone scheme itself.

In addition to the Warm Zone funding, a community benefits fund of at least £10,000 per annum would be provided by Banks to support local voluntary groups, community organisations and environmental projects.

Banks is one of the UK’s leading developers in the wind farm sector, and has a number of similar completed and ongoing projects at various stages of development across the north of England and Scotland.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “At a time where escalating fuel costs are making finances very tight for a lot of families, we believe that the Warm Zone scheme that the Heysham South wind farm would fund would make a real difference for thousands of people across the area.

“Several areas around the UK are already enjoying the benefits of an established Warm Zone scheme, with more energy efficiency homes, lower fuel bills, a reduction in excess winter-related deaths and job creation all arising as a result of its implementation.

“With 20 per cent of homes within Lancaster now classed as being in fuel poverty, this is clearly a pressing issue for the district, and the funding we would provide for the scheme adds yet another tangible dimension to the community benefits that would result if the Heysham South wind farm is approved.

“The capital investment we’re looking to make in the Lancaster community comes at a time when very few private or public sector organisations are doing anything similar, and we very much hope as many local people as possible will come along to this important event to find out for themselves what we’re planning to do and to hear how they might be able to benefit.”

Anyone interested in attending the free Warm Zone information event, which is scheduled to finish around 1pm, after a buffet lunch, can contact Louise Allen to reserve their place by calling 0844 264 4496 (local rate call) or emailing

Anyone who would like more information on the Heysham South proposals can contact the Banks community team on 0191 378 6100 or email

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