Renewable energy firm Banks Renewables has submitted a planning application for an extension to the permitted lifespan of its successful Lambs Hill Wind Farm near Stockton-on-Tees.

The four-turbine wind farm, which sits to the south west of Stillington, has been operational since late 2016 and was originally given permission to run for 25 years.

But having carried out regular maintenance work at the site and reviewed its efficient ongoing operational performance, the family firm has now decided to look for permission to extend the lifespan of the wind farm by 15 years, to 40 years’ duration.

A planning application on the proposed lifespan extension is expected to be considered by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council in the coming months.

No other aspects of the wind farm’s operation would change as part of the planning application, no new turbines are being planned and all the existing planning conditions under which it operates, including those which protect the residential amenity of local residents, would remain unaltered.

The Lambs Hill Wind Farm generated over 22,000 MWh of green electricity during Banks Renewables’ most recent financial year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of around 7,000 homes, and by doing so, it displaced more than 4,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.

“Our aim is to maximise the environmental, energy security and social benefits that the Lambs Hill Wind Farm can deliver”

It also generates around £10,000 every year for the Lambs Hill Wind Farm Benefits Fund, which supports community and environmental projects put forward by local voluntary groups and charities and which would be extended for a further 15 years if the planning application is approved.

Grants totalling more than £47,000 have been made from the fund over the last six years, with recipients include Stillington Youth Club, Grindon Parish Hall, Stillington & Whitton Parish Council, Bishopton Playground Association and the Friends of Stillington Village Hall.

More than 480,000 MWh of green electricity was generated across the County Durham-headquartered firm’s overall portfolio of ten onshore wind farms across Scotland and the north of England during its last financial year, a figure which is enough to meet the annual electricity needs of over 155,000 homes, or a city around the size of Sunderland.

Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at the Banks Group, says: “The Lambs Hill Wind Farm has been generating significant amounts of clean green electricity for several years and our aim is to maximise the environmental, energy security and social benefits that it can deliver, a process which extending its permitted lifespan would allow us to do.

“Many local communities have benefited from revenues generated by the wind farm and extending its lifespans would mean even more capital would be available to support projects across the surrounding area.

“As part of our development with care approach, we’ve held discussions with local residents and councillors about the proposals through our wind farm liaison committee, which was set up to discuss any matters associated with the wind farm, and we’ll continue to keep the local community informed as things progress.

“Generating as much of the energy that we all use via renewables is a crucial part of the UK’s journey towards its Net Zero targets and will enable the country to decarbonise its power supply and achieve its climate change targets more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

“We therefore hope that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council will allow us to extend the contribution that the Lambs Hill Wind Farm makes to meeting our nation’s energy needs when it comes to consider our plans.”