March 25, 2015 | Community News
Renewable energy firm Banks Renewables has extended its support for a volunteer-led project which aims to manage and improve a popular woodland adjacent to a South Yorkshire village.
The Cliff Plantation and Stables Wood sits on the outskirts of the village of Barnburgh, to the west of Doncaster, and is well used by local dog walkers, runners, horse riders, cyclists and families.
Responsibility for managing the wood lies with the Halifax Estates Management Company and Barnburgh & Harlington Parish Council, with work being carried out by a team from environmental group The Conservation Volunteers alongside a number of local residents.
The amount of work that the Parish Council had been able to fund had fallen in recent years due to pressure on financial resources, meaning that less activity could be carried out, but after a £1,000 grant was provided by Banks Renewables in 2013, the number of days’ work that could be carried out on site was trebled, from two to six, with the result that there was a visible improvement in the area’s condition.
Banks has now made a further £1,000 grant to ensure that the same level of activity could carry on this winter, with work including the removal of non-native specimens, scrub clearance, management of the woodland flora, clearing paths, creating new glades and removing fallen branches carried out during December and January.
Banks is the company behind the Marr wind farm, which sits to the west of junction 37 of the A1M on land that is adjacent to the Cliff Plantation and Stables Wood, and this latest donation has been provided from the Marr community benefits fund, which sees part of the revenues generated by the wind farm used by Banks to fund a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.
Over £30,000 has been given to local community projects from the Marr fund over the last three years, including donations to St Wilfrid’s Church in Hickleton, Barnburgh & Harlington Junior Football Club and Hickleton Parish Council.
John Palmer, clerk to Barnburgh & Harlington Parish Council, says: “This is a very well used local resource, and we work hard to keep it in the best possible condition for everyone to enjoy, but given the pressure on local authority funding over the last few years, we’d not been able to support as much work there as we’d have liked until Banks’ initial contribution provided the money we needed to get more done.
“The results of this work were obvious for everyone to see, and in a couple of months, when the bluebells start to show through where there would otherwise just have been brambles, we’ll be able to see the positive impact of what’s been done this winter just as clearly.
“Having the Marr benefits fund available to support local projects such as this is extremely useful, especially as other funding streams for local improvement projects have become far harder to access, and we’re grateful to Banks for choosing to back this project once again.”
Sprotbrough ward councillor Cynthia Ransome, who worked with the Parish Council in bringing in the second grant, adds: “We are always pleased to support such a worthwhile project that maintains our beautiful rural surroundings and enables country-loving people to enjoy outdoor activities.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Renewables, says: “The Marr wind farm community fund was specifically designed to deliver clear, long-lasting social and environmental benefits to the local area, and helping the Parish Council to increase the amount of time that can be dedicated to this important community project is a great example of how this ambition is being realised on the ground.”
Any community groups in Marr, Hickleton, Barnburgh or Harlington that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr community benefits fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342