May 25, 2012 | Community News
Considerate developer Banks Renewables will outline proposals for two wind farms near Cumnock, at High Cumnock and at Lethans Forest, by hosting a series of public exhibitions designed to encourage local communities to get involved in the development of their local wind farms.
Banks Renewables will distribute leaflets to homes and businesses in Cumnock, New Cumnock and Kelloholm over four days starting from 28th May, which will provide information about each of the three exhibitions taking place.
The exhibitions will provide local residents and businesses with the most relevant and up to date information about the sites as well as encouraging people to get involved in the future development of their communities.
Representatives from Banks will be on hand during each exhibition to provide information, answer questions and where possible to address issues that attendees may wish to discuss in relation to the proposals.
Exhibitions are due to take place between the 12th and 14th June, starting in Cumnock at the Dumfries Arms hotel.
Colin Anderson, director of Banks Renewables, said: “Exhibitions are a good way of providing information to the people who matter the most – the local community – but more importantly they give us the chance to hear what people think, which in turn helps us shape the projects.
“Our Development with Care philosophy is fundamental to everything we do and we’ve already held some constructive initial discussions with the Community Councils in the area.
“Now we’re looking forward to hearing from as many local people as possible and we would encourage residents and businesses to attend the exhibition which is nearest to them.
“It is really important for everyone that we build positive long term relationships with local communities; and ideally develop a partnership approach which in time can help ensure that local families and businesses secure a long term positive legacy from their local wind farm.”
“We also want local people to get actively involved and give them the chance, by working in partnership with Banks Renewables, to help shape the future of their local community.”
Banks Renewables is known for developing innovative community funding packages alongside its developments across the UK. These target local issues as identified by local people; this has resulted in job creation initiatives, provision of community infrastructure, delivery of major environmental projects and direct funding into community groups.
Community funding packages related to a Banks Renewables wind farm run for the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm, with communities agreeing where the priorities are for that funding to be directed.
Feedback from the meetings held with the Community Councils has highlighted the lack of employment and training opportunities as a major issue locally. As a result Banks is already considering the possibility of setting up or backing dedicated education and training schemes.
Banks will also use feedback from the public exhibitions to identify local community groups, charities and voluntary organisations that may be interested in seeking support from the wind farms should they be approved.
Both proposed sites are on forested land to the east of Cumnock and will be the subject of separate planning applications. The Lethans site proposes up to 39 turbines, each up to 140m high and the site at High Cumnock proposes up to 13 turbines, each up to 125m high.
Between them the sites would generate enough power to meet the annual electricity requirements of approximately 96,300 homes. Annually they’d remove around 194,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere that would be released producing that energy by non-renewable means.
Colin added: “We are at the very beginning of this process and the initial plans we’ve drawn up are purely a starting point for what we hope will be a really positive discussion with local people. We are committed to listening to the views of local people and local businesses and these will shape the plans that go into future planning applications.”