August 6, 2014 | Renewables News
A planning application to allow a test wind mast to stay on the site of a possible wind farm site in south Cumbria has been submitted to South Lakeland District Council.
The 80m mast on the proposed Killington site was erected by developer Banks Renewables in 2012 as part of its design work for the three-turbine scheme that it was looking to locate on land to the south of the A684 Sedbergh Road, adjacent to Junction 37 of the M6.
The Killington scheme was approved by South Lakeland District Council in January this year, but Banks decided to withdraw it last month in advance of a public enquiry that was due to be held in September after the planning application was ‘called in’ for determination by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government.
Banks is now applying for permission to leave the test mast in place to gather further wind data as it considers its options around whether a revised wind farm design for this location might be developed.
Banks conducted an extensive public dialogue around the Killington scheme over the last two years, and gathered a wide range of local backing for it, with more than 1,400 letters of support being submitted to the Council in advance of the original planning committee meeting.
A range of local economic, social and environmental benefits would have been delivered by the original Killington wind farm proposals, including a community benefits fund amounting to up to £1.25m over the 25-year lifespan of the scheme.
A new initiative that would have delivered fast broadband to the local area for the first time was also developed by Banks in response to the priorities expressed when local people were asked how the community benefits fund linked to the wind farm could best be allocated.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “We were disappointed to withdraw the original Killington wind farm proposal, especially as it meant that all the much-needed benefits that it would have brought to the area had to go by the wayside too. We’re still considering our options for future alternatives schemes that might be suitable at this site.
“Leaving the test mast in place would allow us to gather further wind data for use in the design of any future proposals that we decide to bring forward, and we hope that South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee will allow us to do this.
“We are continuing to review the site as a whole, as well as the planned provision of broadband for people and businesses in the area, and will ensure all interested parties are fully informed of our intentions as and when decisions are made.
“With many significant energy and environmental challenges facing the UK over the coming years, modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms like Killington have a crucial role to play in generating more of the clean, green energy that we all use in our homes, schools and businesses.”