Hundreds of locals hope for wind farm approval

December 2, 2014 | Lethans News

There is still time to add your support too! To help make the High Cumnock Community Wind Farm a reality and bring much needed jobs, investment and carbon free electricity to the East Ayrshire area, please go to: http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/high-cumnock/support-this-project/ now.

Plans for a community wind farm, which is expected to be decided upon by East Ayrshire Council this Friday (5th), have received overwhelming backing from the local community.

Banks Renewables, the Hamilton based firm behind the High Cumnock Community Wind Farm proposals, has now received approximately 375 letters of support from the local community, who are keen to see the vital investment in the area.

In addition, the community councils of Netherthird & District and Cronberry, Logan & Lugar, have given their full backing for the wind farm, which would provide an estimated £33 million boost to the local economy over the lifetime of the site and offer fresh employment opportunities.

Local businesses are also rallying behind the project, which would see contracts worth up to £5 million being awarded to local firms during its’ construction.

The decision on the planning application for the eight turbine community wind farm, situated on land between Cumnock and New Cumnock, is expected to take place on 5 December.

Around 375 individual letters of support have now been submitted to the Council urging them to approve a development, which could provide a vital lifeline to an area suffering from a lack of job and skills opportunities as a result of the decline in local economic conditions.

Local firms including Barr Quarries, Ian Watt Haulage and Duncan Plant Hire have openly backed the plans, recognising the importance and value that the development will bring to the local economy.

Ian Watt, owner of Ian Watt Haulage, said: “The commitment offered by Banks Renewables is great news for the local area as it offers opportunities for contractual work.

“More importantly it allows us to plan for the future, protecting the jobs of local people and opening up further employment opportunities.”

Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “We recognise that East Ayrshire has had big issues to deal with and the difficulties experienced in the local mining industry have left many open wounds.

“Having listened closely to the people living and working across Cumnock and Doon Valley over the past two years we have now developed a site capable of delivering tangible and meaningful benefits tailored specifically to meet the needs of the local communities.

“What we heard was that gaining access to jobs, skills or training opportunities was proving difficult. To help tackle this issue we will provide an opportunity to support 60 new traineeships through an agreement with Netherthird Community Action Training – should the development be given the go ahead.”

Netherthird Community Action Training, is a social enterprise that provides a range of traineeships to 17-24 year olds not in education, employment or training.

Jamie Campbell, 24, founder of NCAT, said: “The proposed partnership with Banks Renewables is an extremely exciting opportunity for us.

“It’s refreshing to see a company, taking responsible steps like this and I hope the wind farm will be approved as it will be a truly exceptional asset that could make a genuine difference to the people who live in the surrounding areas.”

A number of community groups have also thrown their weight behind the plans with New Cumnock Angling Association and Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise, impressed by Banks commitment to the local communities.

Bill Duncan, secretary of the New Cumnock Angling Association said: “We believe that a responsible wind farm development can be an asset to communities and provide ongoing benefits.

“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 are looking forward to the benefits that the development could potentially bring to the local community.”

Other benefits, if the scheme is approved, will include a host of ecology and wildlife enhancements, including extensive woodland and hedgerow planting and the creation of 5.8km of new recreational tracks.

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