Plans Lodged for Lethans Wind Farm

March 18, 2015 | Community News

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Community backed proposals for a wind farm that could generate £69million for the local economy over 25 years, were submitted last week (March 13th) for consideration.

The plans for the 26 turbine Lethans Community Wind Farm, situated east of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire, were submitted to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit and East Ayrshire Council by wind energy firm, Banks Renewables.

Following a period of public consultation, the proposed development has received the overall support from the attendees at both public events held for the project.

Banks Renewables believes its’ proposal is particularly strong, with the remote nature of the site at Lethans, notable for its high wind speeds and low visual impact – thanks to a clever  citing design that will mean  the landscape of the area will provide natural screening from key lines of sight.

The Hamilton based employer has been praised for its partnership approach to the proposals by working with members of the local community at each stage of the planning process.

This has meant that if approved, the electricity generated from the wind farm will provide funding to deliver tailored benefits to directly fit the needs of the communities including helping to support their recently launched action plans.

The site promises to create a welcome financial boost to the local economy which has suffered in recent years due to the closure of its coal mines. Construction costs are valued at an estimated £105 million with a potential £21 million to form local contracts, including a variety of services, from aggregate supply to catering facilities.

If approved, Banks Renewables has also planned for a community partnership agreement, which could see the local community benefiting from 2.5% of the wind farm revenues.

This commitment would be underwritten with a commitment to contribute £5,000 per MW installed capacity, which has the potential to generate approximately £15 million over the 25 year lifetime of the project.

The firm is also offering the community the opportunity to purchase up to 5% stake in Lethans Wind Farm, in addition to the Community Revenue Share. Having an annual revenue stream over the 25 years lifetime of the wind farm presents an opportunity for long lasting, positive change to be affected.

Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “We have fostered strong relationships with neighbouring communities to the proposed Lethans Wind Farm over the past two and a half years.

“As such I am confident that our finalised proposals truly reflect the views of local residents and have the potential to make a real and meaningful impact on the projects identified by them in their local action plans.

“This means that if the development is approved, not only will it create sustainable energy but it will also open up funding that will be directed into local causes and employment opportunities which will help with the overall regeneration of the area.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the planning process over the past couple of years and hope that it will lead to a positive decision from the Scottish Government.”

 An extensive mapping exercise found that the proposed site is over 2km to away from the nearest homes, is not in a protected area and there would be no significant impacts on the local wildlife.

Colin added: “The landscape of this remote area means that the majority of the wind turbines would be hidden from view. Our mapping research has also shown it to be a great site in terms of the wind resource and therefore would be an extremely efficient wind farm capable of producing a great deal of energy from each turbine.”

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.

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