February 14, 2013 | Community News
Work to manage and improve a popular woodland adjacent to a South Yorkshire village has been stepped up thanks to a £1,000 grant from a renewable energy firm.
The Cliff Plantation and Stables Wood sits on the outskirts of the village of Barnburgh, to the west of Doncaster, and is well used by local dog walkers, runners, horse riders, cyclists and families.
Responsibility for managing the wood lies with the Halifax Estates Management Company and Barnburgh & Harlington Parish Council, with work being carried out by a team from environmental group The Conservation Volunteers.
In the last few years, the number of days’ work that the Parish Council has been able to fund has fallen due to pressure on financial resources, meaning that less activity could be carried out on site.
But thanks to a £1,000 grant from Banks Renewables, the number of days work carried out on site this winter has been trebled, from two to six, with the result that there has been a visible improvement in the condition of the area.
Banks is the company behind the Marr wind farm, which sits to the west of junction 37 of the A1M on land that is adjacent to the Cliff Plantation and Stables Wood, and the donation has been provided from the Marr community benefits fund, which will see part of the revenues generated by the wind farm used by Banks to fund a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people over the next 25 years.
Work carried out during December and January included the removal of non-native specimens, scrub clearance, management of the woodland flora, clearing paths and removing fallen branches.
Cllr David Packham, chairman of Barnburgh & Harlington Parish Council, says: “This area is a highly valued community resource that is well used by a wide cross-section of our population, and we work hard to keep it in the best possible condition for everyone to enjoy, but given the recent economic climate, we’ve not been able to fund as much work there as we’d have liked.
“We heard about the Marr benefits fund, put in a bid and we’re extremely pleased to get a positive response. Being able to supplement our work in this way has made a very visible difference to the woodland, and all the people that use it will feel the benefits through all the different seasons.
“Banks has maintained good, open relationships with the community since they began working in the area, and have shown themselves as willing to listen to comments and ideas from the people that live here. The wind farm itself has worked well, and we’ve not experienced any particular issues with its operation in the last year.”
Sprotbrough ward councillor and Deputy Mayor Cynthia Ransome, who worked with the Parish Council in bringing in the new funding, adds: “I am pleased to see funding going into The Cliff Plantation and Stables Wood. The area is valued highly by the local community and improving the local environment is one of my top priorities.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Renewables, says: “Maintaining and improving facilities across the communities around the Marr site is what the wind farm benefits fund is all about, and it’s very pleasing for us to see revenues from the renewable energy we’re generating locally being in support of valuable projects such as this.
“Our aim is to deliver long-lasting economic, social, employment and environmental benefits to the communities in and around the areas in which we operate, and there will be a great deal more to come for this area in the future.”
Any community groups in Marr, Hickleton, Barnburgh or Harlington that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr community benefits fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting Banks on 0844 209 1515 or firstname.lastname@example.org