North East England’s newest onshore wind farm is generating clean green electricity after the successful completion of testing and commissioning work.
Banks Renewables has taken official possession of the new £17.5m Moor House wind farm near Darlington from main contractor Hall Construction Services Ltd after the scheme’s six turbines were fully energised.
And the County Durham-headquartered firm is encouraging more groups and good causes in the surrounding communities to make applications to the £750,000 community benefits fund linked to Moor House after it also went live.
An annual allowance of £15,000 is being made available from the fund in support of local community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations, while the same amount again will be available every year to support activities related to employment and training opportunities.
A further one-off allocation of £50,000 will be ring-fenced to support energy efficiency and micro-renewables projects for community buildings within the area surrounding the wind farm.
A funding committee made up of community representatives has been set up to help ensure the money is spent in ways which meet local priorities, with Cllr Brian Jones of Darlington Borough Council being appointed as committee chair.
The Moor House scheme is Banks Renewables’ ninth operational onshore wind farm, and sits on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “A huge amount of excellent work has been done by our project and contractor teams on the Moor House wind farm, and it’s fantastic to see it all now come to fruition.
“Banks Renewables is one of the UK’s leading owner-operators in the onshore wind sector, and as a long-standing County Durham business, we’re especially proud to start generating even more clean green electricity within our home region.
“The money available from the Moor House fund will make a big difference to the facilities and activities that local people are able to access, and we’ve already had a number of interesting initial applications from local groups and good causes.
“The funding committee will be meeting every few months to discuss the best ways in which the revenues coming from the wind farm to the fund can be allocated, and we’re therefore keen to see a continuous flow of ideas and grant applications coming our way.
“Onshore wind is recognised as being the most effective technology in delivering carbon reduction targets for the UK at the lowest cost for the consumer, and has a key role to play in generating more of the energy that we all use in powering our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals via renewable means.”
Eligibility for the Moor House community benefits fund is normally restricted to projects and activities within the communities at Sadberge, Bishopton, East & West Newbiggin, Bishopton, Little Stainton, Great Stainton, Great Burdon, Barmpton and Brafferton, as well as areas of Whinfield, Harrogate Hill, Beaumont Hill and Coatham Mundeville which are north of the A1150 and east of the A167.
Projects in neighbouring areas may also be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within the closest communities.
The Moor House wind farm fund will be independently administered by the County Durham Community Foundation. Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for grant funding from it 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