Independent survey finds community support for Quixwood Moor wind farm scheme

December 8, 2011 | Quixwood Moor News

Independent research into the views of people in the communities surrounding the site of a proposed new wind farm in the eastern Scottish Borders has found considerable support for the plans.

Banks Renewables is putting forward plans for the proposed Quixwood Moor wind farm, which would be situated on agricultural land between the villages of Grantshouse and Abbey St Bathans in Berwickshire.

As part of the continuing public engagement process surrounding the proposals, which has included four public exhibitions and several meetings with community representatives, Banks commissioned an independent market research firm to carry out a door-to-door survey of households in the area, to find out more about local residents’ views of the proposed scheme.

Around 120 households took part in the survey, which found that more than two fifths of them (42%) were in favour of the plans and a quarter (25%) held a neutral or no opinion about them.  The remaining 33% of survey respondents said they were against the scheme.

The main reasons given by participants for backing the Quixwood Moor scheme included general support for renewable energy, the visual appearance of wind turbines, the clean energy they produce and a preference for wind farms over other energy sources.

A majority of those surveyed (53%) supported the Scottish Government’s target for generating all the country’s energy through renewable sources by 2020, with just one-fifth (20%) objecting to this policy.

The £43m Quixwood Moor scheme would encompass 14 turbines with a maximum tip height of 126.5m, and would have an installed capacity of up to 32.2MW, which would meet the annual electricity consumption requirements of up to 21,800 homes.

Around 55 people would be working on site during the construction of the Quixwood Moor project, and if the scheme goes ahead, local firms would be able to tender for related contracts worth up to £7million.

In addition to this, a substantial amount of funding would be provided by a benefits fund that would run alongside the wind farm during its 25-year lifetime.  This would be made available to local community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations in order to facilitate tangible, long-term benefits for all sections of the community from Banks’ presence there.

The survey asked local people how they thought this money might best be allocated, with ideas including new facilities for children and young people, providing cheaper electricity, improving the local environment and adding amenities for the whole community being amongst the most popular suggestions.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “The results of our research are very encouraging, and prove that there is real community support for a scheme that it is recognised would bring a wide range of benefits to the local area, in addition to the significant amounts of renewable energy it would produce.

“From creating new employment opportunities and commercial openings for local businesses through to providing substantial funding for projects that could help transform the facilities that local people are able to enjoy for decades to come; this scheme has so much potential to make a hugely positive impact across local communities.

“We believe this proposal represents the best option for a wind farm in the area, due to the physical characteristics of the chosen site, its position within the landscape and the capacity it has to generate renewable energy, and have been working very hard across local communities to ensure everyone understands the considerable benefits it would bring to the area.

“Power generated by onshore wind farms such as Quixwood Moor has a crucial role to play in meeting Scotland’s electricity generation requirements for the foreseeable future, and the Scottish Government is firmly committed to producing all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“We are confident that we will be able to design a scheme that is both environmentally acceptable to local communities and capable of producing significant amounts of renewable energy.”

Banks Renewables is expecting to submit a planning application for the Quixwood Moor scheme to the Scottish Borders Council before the end of the year.

Anyone who would like more information on the Quixwood Moor proposals or can contact the Banks community relations team via quixwoodmoor@banksgroup.co.uk

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