November 2, 2012 | Community News
Banks Renewables is urging planners to keep a decision whether to approve a Borders wind farm in the hands of the local community.
Our proposal for a14 turbine wind farm at Quixwood Moor is set to go before Scottish Borders Council (SBC) planning committee this month (November) and the site could generate enough power to meet the annual energy needs of 19,400 homes and create a community benefits package worth more than £7.1million.
Yet earlier this year planning officials recommended the plans for the wind farm – along with proposals from five other developers – should be withdrawn.
However, we are continuing with our proposals, as the Quixwood Farm Wind Farm is the only one of the six in the to be fully supported by all local host community councils – Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyll and Grantshouse.
If the proposals are rejected despite that strong community support, an appeal could be made to the Scottish Government, with the final decision taken out of local hands.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We are fully convinced of the merits of our proposal for the Banks Quixwood Moor Wind Farm. It would provide a viable source of energy from renewable means and would bring a wealth of benefits for the local community.
“We have taken on board the points raised by the planning officials at Scottish Borders Council and have decided to ask the councillors on the planning committee to decide, particularly since we have the full support of the local community councils.
“That way the elected members of the council can carefully weigh our well-supported proposals and the benefits they will bring in the light of the advice of their planning officials.”
Should SBC refuse plans for Banks Quixwood Moor Wind Farm, we will then be able to appeal to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow.
Mr Dyke added: “In our opinion the local planning committee is by far the best forum for a decision to be taken locally and which reflects local opinion.
“If our proposals are rejected on advice from officials which we believe is flawed, we have the option to appeal. That would bring a real possibility that local opinion could be lost with the final ruling being made by civil servants a long way off in Glasgow.
“This is why we want councillors to get the chance to carefully consider the local benefits of our scheme and listen to the local community who are fully behind a wind farm which will leave a lasting positive legacy for the area.”
Our development with care approach means we work with communities surrounding our sites to bring tangible, long-term benefits to local families and businesses. That includes a substantial benefits package available over the 25-year life of the wind farm.
Local charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations are among those who could gain. Crucially, the fund would be used to target local issues that are identified by local people, with communities having a say where funding should be directed.
Similar projects have resulted in job creation initiatives, provision of community infrastructure, delivery of major environmental projects and direct funding into community groups.
As well as a community benefit package, we are committed to ensuring around £7.1million worth of contracts during the construction of the site would also be made available to businesses and contractors in the local area.
Phil Dyke added: “Getting planning permission is only part of what we do. It is vital that we have a partnership with the local community so they back our development and so that local families and businesses see real benefits.”
David Morrison, Chairman of Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council, said: “Banks Renewables has been extremely open and transparent throughout every stage of the project so far.
“Positive negotiations between Granthouse and Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Councils and Banks Renewables has resulted in a potential community benefits package which would be available should planning be consented.
“This is really good news for our local community groups and charities.”
Power generated by wind farms will help Scotland continue to enjoy the constant, reliable energy supply modern life demands – and such wind farms have already reduced the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels imported from unstable overseas markets.
Our Development Director Phil Dyke, talks more about this update in our latest video which can be viewed below.