October 17, 2016 | Community News
People living in the communities surrounding a new Darlington wind farm development are being invited to be part of a community liaison committee that will help to keep local residents informed about the scheme’s progress.
Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group based in nearby County Durham, is currently finalising the construction schedule for the Moor House wind farm, which will be located on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1, and is expecting to begin preparatory work on the site before the end of the year.
As part of its commitment to ensuring that local people are involved throughout the scheme’s construction and operation, Banks is now looking to form a community liaison committee made up of people from around the area which will meet every few months to get the latest information on the scheme and to feed back any comments or queries from local people about it.
The first meeting is due to take place in late October, and the committee has vacancies for one local resident from each of the surrounding communities of Sadberge, East & West Newbiggin, Little Stainton, Great Stainton, Great Burdon, Barmpton and Brafferton that are eligible to apply to be part of it.
A community benefits sub-group will also be formed from the committee members, which will help to review and agree the local organisations and good causes that will receive funding from the £375,000 community benefits fund that will be part of the Moor House wind farm’s operations.
The six-turbine Moor House wind farm will involve a £17.5m investment by Banks Renewables, and will offer local businesses the opportunity to tender for contracts worth up to £4.5m in relation to different elements of the scheme, including construction, security, accommodation and catering.
A community benefits fund will be created from revenues generated by the wind farm, offering funding every year of the scheme’s 25-year lifespan for local community groups, environmental and voluntary projects, in order to provide tangible long-term benefits for the community from Banks’ presence there.
Construction work is scheduled to take around nine months, with the scheme expected to be fully operational before the end of next year.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “Community liaison committees provide a valuable forum for meeting with local people where we can ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date on progress with the wind farm and local people can raise any matters and ask questions direct to our project team.
“The community fund associated with this project is designed to ensure that our presence in the area has a long-lasting positive impact, and the knowledge that the local panel members can bring will provide invaluable help when they help us to agree on the projects and new facilities that should be supported by the fund.
“Our liaison panels have proved very successful at other schemes that we have developed, and we hope to get a wide cross-section of the local community involved with this one.
“In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, the Moor House wind farm is also bringing a range of other benefits to the local area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities for local businesses through to funding for a range of local community improvements and skills development initiatives.
“Modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms such as Moor House are acknowledged as providing the lowest cost form of renewable energy generation, and we firmly believe they have a central role to play in the UK’s future energy mix, as well as in generating more of the energy that we all use via renewable means.”
Anyone interested in being part of the Moor House wind farm community liaison committee should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the project team on 0191 378 6100. For further general information on the wind farm, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/moor-house