Hook Moor wind farm plans approved on appeal

December 13, 2011 | Community News

Plans for the first wind farm in the Leeds metropolitan area have been approved after a second appeal against their rejection.

Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, put forward the proposals for the Hook Moor development, which will be located on agricultural land near the junction of the M1 and A1.

The five turbine scheme will have an installed capacity of up to 15MW, which is enough to meet the annual electricity consumption requirements of more than 8,000 homes, and up to 30 people will work on site during the construction process.

Local firms would be able to tender for contracts worth around £2million for the balance of plant work required in the construction phase of the scheme, and the scheme will also provide a boost for the West Yorkshire economy through the local supply chain.

Banks will work in partnership with the local community to provide financial support for local community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations during the scheme’s 25-year lifetime providing tangible long-term benefits for the local area from Banks’ presence there.

Banks originally put forward proposals for the Hook Moor scheme in 2008, but they were rejected by Leeds City Council in 2009.

An appeal to the planning inspectorate was turned down at the end of 2010, but it was subsequently found that the criteria used to assess Banks’ appeal at this hearing were incorrect, and this decision was quashed in the High Court by agreement of all parties.

The latest inspectorate’s judgement found that the Hook Moor planning application was in line with both national and local planning policy and guidance, which thus overruled the concerns that had led to its initial rejection.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “We have always believed that the Hook Moor wind farm was a well thought-out and sensibly-sited project, and are extremely pleased that the many benefits of the scheme have been recognised through the inspector’s decision.

“This scheme’s location, in an area next to the motorways that does not yet have any renewable energy generation, makes it especially important, and it will play a key role in enabling Leeds City Council to meet its immediate and future renewables obligations.

“Employment and commercial opportunities for local firms will be created in the construction phase of the scheme, and in addition to this, we are keen to work with the local community to identify voluntary groups and projects that will be financially supported by the substantial amounts of money that will be available every year from the community benefits fund.

“We will continue to work closely with local people as progress is made on the project’s development, and will also be looking for ideas about how the benefits fund that will be associated with this scheme can best be allocated to ensure Banks’ presence in the community provides a positive, long-term legacy for everyone.”

 Banks will now begin to put a programme in place for the construction of the wind farm.

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