August 6, 2015 | Community News
A local, Hamilton based, ecologist will carry out crucial work before and during the construction of a South Lanarkshire wind farm.
Eco-Fish Consultants Ltd, which employs 11 people from its base in Hamilton, will assess the land at the 15 turbine Middle Muir Wind Farm before the initial site investigation and will be on site during construction to ensure that work does not disrupt wildlife.
The firm have been appointed by Hamilton based wind energy developer, Banks Renewables, following its commitment to prioritise local suppliers throughout the construction process of the project.
This commitment was a key element of the Connect2Renewables Charter launched late last year by Banks Renewables with the support of South Lanarkshire Council, which also aims to ensure that local communities hosting a Banks Renewables wind farm secure the maximum possible social and economic benefits, as well as the environmental benefits delivered by clean, low cost green energy.
Situated two kilometres north-west of Crawfordjohn, the 51MW Middle Muir Wind Farm was approved by the Scottish Government in September 2014, with pre-construction site investigation work set to start in late August this year.
The selection of Eco-Fish Consultants Ltd is an important appointment, with Banks and the local authority hoping that many other local firms will follow in their footsteps to benefit from the economic windfall that Middle Muir Wind Farm is bringing to the area.
Colin Nisbet, discipline lead for ecology and ornithology at Eco-Fish Consultants Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract with Banks Renewables to carry out crucial work to protect the habitat surrounding the site.
“Despite working as far afield as Ireland, Wales and Caithness, this type of work close to home is more favourable for business and is preferential for the Hamilton based team.
“It is also great to see Banks Renewables following up on its promises to commit to local firms, providing a further boost to the local area and much needed investment into South Lanarkshire.
“We will be keeping a close eye on progress at neighbouring Kype Muir Wind Farm and also the extension that is being proposed – which if approved could give firms such as ours a real boost with the potential to notably increase staff numbers.”
Middle Muir Wind Farm and neighbouring Kype Muir Wind Farm are the projects at the heart of the Connect2Renewables initiative, which is expected to begin delivering opportunities for local people this year with funding from Middle Muir Wind Farm.
Development director at Banks Renewables, Colin Anderson, said: “The appointment of Eco-Fish Consultants Ltd is exactly in line with our Connect2Renewables Charter – and we are fortunate to be able to utilise such a high level of expertise and professionalism from a business right here on the doorstep.
“Using local firms on our projects injects substantial investment directly into the local economy, helping to increase employment and over time the standards of living for people living and working in South Lanarkshire. It also helps ensure that the communities hosting our projects gain on many different levels from development of a Banks Renewables wind farm.”
The Middle Muir project will create a guaranteed community benefit fund of £255,000 per annum, adding up to £6.37m over the life time of the wind farm project.
Banks Renewables has committed that half of the annual community benefit fund will be directed through the Connect2Renewables employment and training initiative being delivered in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council. This ring-fenced funding will last for five years providing £637,500 to, help create jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities for local people.
Colin added: “The early commitment of over £600,000 into the Connect2Renewables employment and training program being delivered in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council is really important for the local area, especially given the decline of some of the more traditional industries over recent years. This will increase the opportunities and prospects of local people and help around 180 people over the five year term of the programme.”
South Lanarkshire based businesses that have not previously completed a Banks supplier questionnaire, but wish to be considered for inclusion in the tendering process, should contact the Banks procurement team at firstname.lastname@example.org