Public shape new 10 turbine look for Ard Ghaoth

March 12, 2012 | Renewables News

Attentive developers have reduced the number of turbines on a proposed wind farm site, following detailed public consultation.

Originally 20 turbines were earmarked for the Ard Ghaoth Wind Farm near Drymen in Stirlingshire, producing enough clean, green energy to power 11,100 homes.

Now the company behind the proposals, Hamilton-based Banks Renewables, has come back with a radical redrawing of the plans which halves the number of turbines to just 10.

Colin Anderson, director of Banks Renewables, said: “Our development with care philosophy is fundamental to everything we do, so when the people living near the site told us there were too many turbines we not only listened, we acted decisively.

“Getting planning permissions for a wind farm is only part of what we do. It is fundamentally important that we have a partnership with a local community, so they back our development and so that local families and businesses see real benefits.

“Based on our engagement with people living near Ard Ghaoth, we believe most are not opposed to wind farms, but felt there were too many turbines for this particular site. We are hopeful our revised plan addresses those concerns.”

Banks Renewables reviewed its original plan in November, after local people voiced concern about the visual impact during a series of public meetings and a consultation survey.

The design team was tasked to go back to the drawing board, while experts meticulously sourced the latest turbine technology to help reduce the visual footprint of the site.

Colin Anderson added: “By sourcing turbines that are only slightly higher, but significantly more efficient, we can reduce the number on site, while still producing the majority of the energy.

“As a result of the improved efficiency, we will be able to deliver an enhanced community fund. We are still putting together those details and hope to put them to the local community within a few weeks.”

Ard Ghaoth Wind Farm straddles two farms – both owned by local families – to the north east of Drymen. The 10 proposed turbines would each be 115m tall – a 15m increase on those previously proposed.

The company hopes the careful balance of a low impact development and a compelling community partnering package will allow the plans to win approval from Stirling Council’s planners when the application and associated environmental statement are submitted.

Banks Renewables will host a number of public exhibitions leading up to the submission of a planning application. The exhibitions will include visualisations showing exactly how the updated wind farm would look in the landscape.

Colin Anderson added: “Scotland is committed to extremely demanding renewable energy targets. Wind farms are a crucial part of that and we’re proud to be developing sites which produce clean, green energy and helps local communities to improve their environment.

“We said we’d work with and listen to local people as we developed our planning application. The new design we’re putting forward shows that we’ve kept this promise.

“Nor will we stop listening. Further consultation with local people will take place over the coming months and we’d encourage everyone in the area to check the plans, consider how it could positively impact on their community and businesses and make up their own minds.”

Janey Fleming is a member of Gartmore Community Council, one of seven community councils that have been and continue to be consulted by Banks Renewables.

She said: “After a shaky start when we were missed from a leaflet drop, Banks Renewables has dealt fairly with us and has listened to the concerns expressed and tried to accommodate them in the latest designs.”

The Ard Ghaoth scheme would involve a multi-million pound investment by Banks Renewables and would boost the local economy. Scottish businesses would be encouraged to tender for contracts worth millions during the development and construction phases, creating up to 50 direct jobs throughout.

Banks Renewables is part of the family-owned Banks Group, founded in 1976 and now employing 380 people. While still involved in surface mining the company is increasingly focused on generating power from renewable technologies.

At the heart of the firm’s business is its development with care approach, which ensures sites are developed in close consultation with communities and after extensive environmental assessment.

Details of the public exhibitions are being finalised and will be announced shortly.  Anyone with queries about the scheme should contact the Banks Renewables’ community relations team on 0191 378 6100 or via

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