December 3, 2015 | Community News
Community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations in the areas around the first wind farm in the Leeds metropolitan area are being invited to apply for grants from the benefits fund linked to it.
Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, will provide around £10,000 every year of community funding from the fund linked to its Hook Moor wind farm, or around £250,000 over the scheme’s 25-year lifespan.
The family-owned firm will work in partnership with the local community around the distribution of the funding available to ensure that tangible long-term benefits result from its local operations, and that the available capital is spent in ways which meets local priorities.
A funding committee has already been drawn together which includes representatives of Leeds City Council, Aberford Parish Council and Micklefield Residents Association, with support from a dedicated fund manager from the Banks Community Fund team.
Eligibility for funding is normally restricted to projects and activities within Aberford and Micklefield, with a maximum grant of £3,000 available, but projects outside these areas may be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within them.
The first tranche of funding will become available once the Hook Moor wind farm, which is expected to start generating green energy before the end of the year, is fully operational.
Construction work on the £14m scheme, which sits on agricultural land near the junction of the M1 and A1, is progressing on schedule, with all the components for the five turbines now fully assembled. Commissioning and testing work is now being carried out.
Up to 30 people are working on site during the construction of the Hook Moor wind farm, with local firms having been awarded a range of contracts relating to various aspects of its development, such as accommodation, catering and security.
Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, says: “The Hook Moor wind farm has been designed to have a substantial long-term impact on the facilities available for local people through the community fund linked to the energy it will produce, and we’re keen to start finding out from local people how they think this money can best be used.
“Public funding remains very hard to come by for many community groups, and the money available from this fund could make a big difference to the facilities and activities local people are able to access for years to come.
“Involving a range of community representatives in the decisions on which applications are accepted by the fund will help us to ensure that it is being allocated in ways which meet local priorities, and we’re keen to hear from as many different groups as we can, so we can start to make a positive contribution to local community groups when the turbines start turning.
“Modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms such as Hook Moor generate safe, clean and sustainable energy, as well as offering the cheapest available form of renewable energy generation, and we’re excited to be building the first scheme of this type in the Leeds metropolitan area.”
Applications to the Hook Moor wind farm community benefits fund can be submitted at any time, with the funding committee scheduled to meet every few months.
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for grant funding from the fund should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/development-with-care/bankscommunityfund/wind-farm-community-fund