Armistead wind farm contributes over £1.1m to local economy

June 28, 2013 | Armistead News

New analysis of the economic impact of south Cumbria’s newest wind farm has found that its construction and commissioning contributed more than £1.1M to the economy of the surrounding area.

As well as employing up to 20 people on site at any given time during the construction of the new 12.3MW Armistead Wind Farm, developer Banks Renewables also awarded contracts worth £359,000 to firms based within a 20-mile radius of the site, which is located near the village of Old Hutton, to the east of the M6 between junctions 36 and 37.

Local businesses that benefited from the project included building contractors Cox & Allen in Kendal, Grayrigg-based stone walling business Dave Dixon Ltd, Bardon Concrete in Lancaster, Kirkby Lonsdale-based Rhino Scaffolding, and The Orange Tree Hotel, also in Kirkby Lonsdale, where several members of the Banks project team stayed during the construction of the wind farm.

Contracts worth a further £760,000 were also awarded to other suppliers based further afield around Cumbria, including firms in Barrow-in-Furness, Penrith and Maryport.

The six-turbine Armistead scheme, which began generating electricity in February, has also enabled Banks to fund the construction of a new pedestrian footway through Old Hutton, and the associated Armistead Wind Farm Community Fund will award grants totalling £12,300 every year for the next 25 years that will make a positive, long-term difference to local community groups, voluntary organisations and environmental projects in the area.

The allocation of the Armistead Fund’s first year’s grants will be announced shortly, and further applications are already being invited from local projects for future consideration.

Mike Leahy, Joint Managing Director at Kendal-based construction firm Cox & Allen, who won a contract to build the substation for the Armistead wind farm, says: “We were very pleased to have won the work for the sub-station building, and it’s very refreshing when a company stands by its policy and actively engages local contractors.

“We’re finding more and more organisations are using regional or national frameworks that are impossible for small local contractors to access, so therefore wish Banks Renewables every success with future projects.”

Banks Renewables is currently undertaking preparatory work on the site of the Heysham South wind farm, a three-turbine scheme located to the south east of the town which will also see a range of substantial contracts awarded to local firms, and is looking to secure approval to build the proposed Killington scheme, which would be located on land between the A684 Sedbergh Road and Junction 37 of the M6.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, adds: “We have a long-standing policy of using locally-based suppliers across all our projects, so that there is a direct economic benefit to the areas in which we’re working, and we were pleased with the impressive range of locally-based expertise that we were able to access for the Armistead project.

“In the present climate, the importance of this sort of approach in terms of the companies and jobs it helps to sustain can’t be underestimated.  Our forthcoming Heysham South wind farm will see further contracts awarded to suppliers across the area, and we will take the same approach with the proposed Killington scheme if we’re given the opportunity to take it forward.

“The quality and suitability of the Killington scheme design has already been recognised by many local residents, and we look forward to bringing it before South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee later in the year.”

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