August 21, 2014 | Community News
A wind farm project has netted support from an unlikely source – the local fishing club.
The New Cumnock Angling Association, has given its full backing to the High Cumnock wind farm proposals after being impressed by the company behind the plans, Banks Renewables.
The team at the Hamilton based firm were surprised when they received a letter of support from the fishing club, saying that local anglers are not in favour of all wind farm proposals. However, the local group had noted Banks extensive efforts to meet and work with the community on their plans.
Bill Duncan, secretary of the New Cumnock Angling Association – which is believed to be the largest membership based association in the local area – has proclaimed they are strongly supportive of the forthcoming renewable power development, and its benefits to the local community.
He said: “We believe that a responsible wind farm development can be an asset to communities and provide ongoing benefits.
“Our view as an association is that we are supportive of renewable energy development where it is done responsibly. So far, we have had early reassurance from Banks Renewables that this will be the case.”
The angling group have also been impressed by the Banks teams’ efforts to engage with and support the local community.
He continued: “We have been sceptical about previous developers who have made proposals to the local area, but the process has been entirely different with Banks.
“We have been impressed with their approach and the consultations they have had with the community – it’s fair to say that, so far, they have kept us all well informed with their plans and ideas.
“We are looking forward to the benefits that the development could potentially bring to the local community.”
Banks Renewables plans to erect an eight turbine wind farm between Cumnock and New Cumnock were submitted to East Ayrshire Council in February 2013. Staff from Banks spent two years gaining feedback from the local community before designing the list of benefits outlined in their proposals.
Construction of the wind farm, which would generate up to 27MW of clean energy, would cost an estimated £36million with around £7million worth of contracts available to local companies.
Examples of these contracts include – construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, hospitality, utilities and professional services.
As well as its measures to boost local businesses, Banks Renewables has also won widespread local support with its proposals for an innovative community partnership yielding 2.5% of the wind farm revenues for the local area – this could equal upwards of £3.4 million over the 25 year lifetime of the project.
The community will also be offered the chance to purchase an equity share option up to 5%, with the revenues generated being directed into worthwhile local projects, including job creation and training schemes, apprenticeships and business start up grants.
Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of such a well-respected community group.
“Angling clubs are an important part of rural communities so we’re very grateful the New Cumnock Angling Association has decided to support our community focused proposals. We’re always keen to hear the views of the local community, so we very much appreciate them taking the time to write such a supportive letter.
“Benefiting local communities is truly at the heart of what we do, therefore it’s fantastic to hear that so many local people are in favour of the development and its many benefits to the area.”
Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs over 420 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.