August 16, 2012 | Community News
New jobs, business opportunities for local firms and substantial funding for community projects are set to follow from a new wind farm that is being proposed for a site to the north of Guisborough.
County Durham developer Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, has just commenced a public engagement programme around the proposed Bankfield scheme, which would be situated on agricultural land on the northern side of the A171.
The scheme is in the earliest stages of development and detailed proposals are still some way away, but it is expected to encompass up six turbines with a maximum tip height of 125m.
The Bankfield Wind Farm would produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity consumption requirements of up to 12,500 homes, and would prevent around 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every year that would otherwise be discharged with the production of the same amount of electricity using fossil fuel-powered electricity generation.
Local people will be able to get their first look at the outline plans for the scheme at a public exhibition which will take place between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday 28 August at Guisborough Methodist Church Hall.
Banks’ representatives will be on hand to answer any queries visitors have about any part of the scheme, and to gather feedback from them which will be used as part of the design development process.
An extensive programme of public engagement activities will be undertaken around the proposals over the coming months, to ensure local people have every opportunity to find out about and comment on what Banks is proposing.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “Feedback from local communities always plays an important part in shaping all our development proposals, and we are holding this first exhibition to let everyone find out about what we’re looking to do at the earliest possible opportunity.
“As well as liaising directly with community representatives and other local authorities to get their input into the development of our plans, we will be holding a number of other events in the coming months at which local people will also be able to give their opinions and ask any questions they might have.
“In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, which would make a major contribution towards the local authority’s renewables targets, the Bankfield Wind Farm would also bring a range of other benefits to the local area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities for local businesses through to funding for a range community improvements.”
Up to 40 jobs would be created through the construction of the wind farm, and local businesses would be able to tender for contracts worth around £3m relating to the construction of the wind farm, as well as other aspects of its development such as accommodation, catering and security.
A substantial community benefits package would also run alongside the wind farm if it is approved, which would enable Banks to deliver a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people, and the developer is keen to hear local people’s views at the exhibition about the sorts of projects they might like to see supported by this fund
Banks is about to submit a scoping report on the scheme to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council for initial review, as well as a planning application for a test wind mast to go on the proposed site, which would be used to gather data for the planning application.
The landscape of the proposed site has been identified as the most suitable in the local area for renewable energy schemes of this type, and if the plans are approved, it would be the first renewable energy generation scheme of its type in the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council area.
Banks has extensive experience of successfully designing and developing renewable energy schemes across England and Scotland, and was behind recently-approved plans for the Lambs Hill Wind Farm, which will be situated to the north west of Stockton.
Phil Dyke continues: “Sharing the benefits of the property and energy schemes that we operate around the country with the communities in which they are situated is part of Banks’ long-term policy for ensuring that people living in these areas gain tangible, long-term advantages from our presence there, and this would very much be the case for the areas around this proposed development.
“Onshore wind farms such as Bankfield are viewed by the government as the cheapest form of renewable energy generation, and are central to achieving the vital goal of continuing to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that we produce as a nation.
“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, and will work closely with all interested parties around the forthcoming development of detailed proposals.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted before the end of the year. Anyone who would like any further information about the proposed Bankfield scheme should contact the Banks Renewables’ community engagement team on 0844 209 1515 (local rate call) or via firstname.lastname@example.org