March 18, 2013 | Community News
We have now submitted a planning application for a wind farm in East Ayrshire, which could deliver a significantly increased share of benefits to the local community as well as a providing a new source of green energy.
As part of our submission for the eight turbine wind farm at High Cumnock, to East Ayrshire Council we have announced plans to increase the amount of money it could invest into the local communities surrounding the site.
This means that the communities’ share of the revenue of the wind farm will now increase from 1.5% to 2.5% with a minimum investment of £5,000 per megawatt per annum a year which could equate to minimum of £3,400,000 over the 25 year lifetime of the wind farm.
In order to further cement the partnership with the local communities, we are also offering the chance to buy up to 5% equity in the wind farm, which would also see profit generated from wind power ploughed back to benefit community projects in the local area.
Mark Dowdall, Environment and Community Director, at Banks Renewables, said: “We have submitted plans for what we believe to be an optimum scheme for the High Cumnock Wind Farm, which not only provides a source of renewable energy, but also provides long term significant social, environmental and economic benefits.
“Revenue from the wind farm will be ring-fenced for the local community with the potential to provide direct funding for local organisations, projects and initiatives and the option to purchase an equity share strengthens this funding allowing the community to tackle wider issues such as employment and training support.
“Almost every one of the many local people we’ve met in the area over the last year has made it clear what they want – better jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities, particularly for young people.
“We are working to develop a locally-focused jobs initiative, which could in part be funded by revenues generated from the wind farm, as well as matching with other funding to help increase opportunities for local people. This would need to be done in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, local businesses, community groups and training providers and all parties seem committed to the same very clear objective.
“There is also scope for us to make further significant economic commitments in this area and we will be continuing our work with the communities surrounding the development to define exactly what these are over the coming months.
“By working in partnership with local communities, we will be able to ensure lasting benefits for local families, businesses and organisations in the area and ultimately it will be local people themselves who will agree where this community funding is best spent.
“We have every faith that we have developed plans for a wind farm which brings the greatest amount of benefits possible to the local community.”
The proposal for eight turbines at the High Cumnock Wind Farm site will provide an overall capacity of 27.2MW.
A decision on the application will be expected to be made by East Ayrshire Council by Summer 2013.
Mark added: “Through listening to and engaging with local people and taking their feedback on board, we have every confidence that we have created a scheme which is acceptable to as many people as possible and hope that this can be reflected in the outcome of our planning application.”