Planning and Design

Will Lethans Extension help Scotland achieve its target of 100% renewable electricity in 2030? 

Yes. Its anticipated output of 60MW will be a useful and not insignificant contribution to this.

Why do we need to go so high in terms of tips of the turbines? 

The higher efficiency the turbine the more energy is generated, delivering lower household bills and benefits to the local community.

Tall turbines are able to capture less inhibited wind flows and higher wind speeds meaning the turbines can reach maximum output more often.  It also allows for a larger rotor diameter giving a larger power capture area again increasing the energy production.

With both of these combined it enables us to construct larger more powerful machines – which, on this site, could lead us to reduce the number of turbines. This leads to a lower cost of energy to build and greater impact to the local economy.

These are tall turbines – will you be able to see them from everywhere? 

We appreciate that a wind farm of this scale will invariably have significant visual effects as a result of their form and locational requirements. Preliminary landscape and visual impact assessment work is underway and is being used to gain an understanding of the visibility and character of the Site in order to reach an acceptable layout. A full detailed assessment will be undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment. It will consider key viewpoints such those which have been raised by the community so far.

Is 251m tall turbines the tallest in the UK? 

They would be the tallest onshore turbines in UK though only 11m taller than other proposed developments within central and southern Scotland.

What are the proposed blade lengths in comparison to the previous provision of blades on adjacent sites you've mentioned? How do they compare to the nearby Whitelee wind farm.  Whitelee are 90m rotor diameter Calder water etc are 100m so between 45 and 50m locally  

Proposed rotor diameters are up to the region of around 170m and although larger than surrounding wind farms, are in line with proposed developments in the wider area. Increased rotor diameters also improve the efficiency of the energy output generation.

I have a concern about the watercourses and wildlife on the site during and after construction. How we will avoid disturbing this delicate habitat?

We are obviously at the early stages of the design process, and impacts upon wildlife and watercourses are assessed as part of the planning application process. To avoid disturbing these delicate habitats we treat ecological constraints and these water bodies as key design considerations, we will certainly not be placing turbines in them. During construction we employ a range of environmental protection measures specific to these areas such as controlling silt run off and careful storage of materials and fuel.

Post construction we make sure the natural environment is re-established and where we can, improved upon through methods such as Habitat Management plans.

Once our designs have progressed further we will present these and consult with the local community.

What about private water supplies and how they are affected?  

As part of the site design process we are working with the Environmental Health Officer and landowners to identify private water supplies within the potential zone of influence of the site. During the environmental impact assessment, any potential effects of the proposed wind farm on the identified private water supplies will be fully considered.

If we are successful through the planning process, we will undertake a baseline water quality assessment in advance of construction works beginning. We will test the surface and ground water on site and at outlet points, as well as requesting to sample any households identified from our design works. These results will be provided to the parties and the Environmental Health Officer. We will then continue monitoring through the construction period to keep on top of any non-standard deviations.

What do you do if there is a problem with the water supply?

Developing with care is something that matters to us, indeed is at the heart of all we do, and we take potential impacts very seriously. The intended outcome is that local water supplies are not impacted by the turbines or construction. If any incidental impact occurs as a direct result of the project we will apply a ‘good neighbours’ approach to remedy the issue. Any direct and clear impact from the wind farm we will address and remedied.

My private water supply and catchment lies within the proposed site what are the proposals to deal with this?

As part of the site design process we are working with the Environmental Health Officer and knowledge from landowners to identify public water supplies within potential zone of influence of the site. Once established these will be treated as key design factor for the site, when developing its layout. We have employed specialist consultants to drive this analysis.

If we are successful through the planning process, we will undertake a baseline water quality assessment in advance of construction works beginning. We will test the surface, ground water on site and at outlet points, as well as requesting to sample any households identified from our design works. These results will be provided to the parties and the EHO. We will then continue monitoring through the construction period to keep on top of any non-standard deviations.

What about aviation? Will there be lights? 

A detailed Aviation Impact Assessment will be undertaken once we have decided on a layout and we will work with aviation stakeholders to agree a mitigation strategy if required. As the turbines are over 150m they will need to be lit, but we are working on identifying solutions to minimise the visibility of lights on the ground e.g. shielding / dimmer lights.

The grid connection proposal talks about overhead wires. Is it possible to put them underground? This would be preferable given they are an added eyesore to the landscape.

We have contracted with Scottish Power on the basis of most economical viable solution both the project and the end user. The overhead lines are expected to be steel towers which are designed for longevity and design efficiency.

Will Lethans Extension electricity be sold on a private wire? 

There are no plans for a private wire connection.

Where will the electricity generated connect into the Grid?  

Lethans Extension will be connected to the National Grid distribution network via Glenmucklock Substation.

The routeing of the connection to local Grid Supply Points will be given consideration for both overhead line and underground connection. This will be formally assessed under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989, however as much information as possible on potential grid connection options will be included in the planning application for the wind farm.

How will you get the big turbines to the site?  I hope you will not damage my house in the process!  I live next to the main road near the site

The turbine routes are still under review but expected to be delivered from King George V Glasgow. From this location, the turbines are expected to travel down the M77 and then to the A76 through New Cumnock and arriving at the site through the consented Lethans WF route. The delivery of these turbines will be assessed and designed by an expert transport consultant to find the most efficient and safest route through any constrictive areas.

How many trees will this wind farm cut down?

The proposed windfarm is located in an extensive area of conifer dominated commercial forestry and, therefore, an area of this forestry will need to be removed to facilitate its construction. To minimise the amount of forestry being felled we are looking to keyhole the turbines into the forestry, which means that we will only remove the trees around the turbines and the infrastructure, leaving the reminder of the forest intact.

It is likely that there will be a requirement for compensatory planting measures to comply with the Scottish Government’s Control of Woodland Policy.

Are the figures you have using nameplate capacity, average capacity or something else?  

The wind farm generation is based on the turbine nameplate capacity.

Are the figures you have using nameplate capacity, average capacity or something else? What is the cost (environmental and monetary) to provide appropriate backup energy sources for when your wind turbines are not producing energy due to lack of wind?  

The wind farm generation is based on the turbine nameplate capacity. Energy generation comes from a range of sources to provide a balance to the UKs energy needs. When wind energy output is lower, additional energy sources are relied upon and managed by the National Grid.

Why don't you do Solar or wave energy?

Onshore wind energy is a well-established form of generating renewable electricity. As part of Banks renewables expanding portfolio, we are also developing a number of solar farms across the UK to add balance to the UKs energy generation and complement our existing successful wind farm developments.

Are there any plans for an energy storage solution on site?

We have no plans to develop energy storage technology on site.

Have you had any pre-planning discussions with the local councils - ie South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire yes

Yes we are engaged in ongoing discussions with them.

Will there be a fund set up within Banks or another entity to ensure that there will be appropriate funding to remove the turbines, foundations and restore the site to the existing condition (or improved environment)? 

Banks will enter an agreement with the local authority to ensure the site is returned as close as practicable to the current ground conditions at the end of the working life cycle. This fund will cover the removal of turbines and foundation upstands will be removed and covered over.

How much Govt subsidy will you get for Lethans Extension? 

The project is still in the early stages and as such we do not know how much, if any, subsidies will be available.

Don't we have enough wind turbines around Ayrshire already?

Scotland has an excellent wind profile and onshore wind represents one of the best natural resources we have. It brings jobs, investment and growth to the country and local areas as well as being the most affordable way of generating renewable energy which helps bring energy costs down. East Ayrshire have allocated this part of the region to be suitable for wind proposals of this scale. Our approach at Banks is to develop these projects with care for people, the environment and to invest with local firms that support local jobs.

Construction and Operation

What about the construction disruption?  Will there be access to the site during construction?

During construction we will look to minimise disruption to communities in the direct vicinity of the site and along the main access routes. We will do this by minimising deliveries during peak times and, where possible, limiting intrusive on-site activities during the hours of darkness.

With all of the above we will work closely with the local community to minimise any impact. Examples of feedback that are useful for us include school bus timings, normal pick up points and information about local events such as hot air balloon shows, or firework displays where footfall and on street parking will be busier than normal. Access to the site will be limited during construction based on safety considerations, but we will work closely with the local community to determine an access approach that takes their views into consideration.

Where will the steel for the towers sections be manufactured?  I hope in the newly back on line Motherwell steel works? 

The turbines will be procured through a separate third party turbine supplier which is yet to be confirmed, and will have their own targeted supply chain.

Community

What is in it for us and why should we support this? 

Onshore wind is the lowest cost renewable energy that can be generated in Scotland. It’s one of our best and cleanest natural resources. This keeps household bills lower as well as providing a way of investing in communities so that they can take steps to improve the wellbeing of local people.

Our wind farm proposal will deliver £5k per MW of community benefit funding each year. This will provide up to £9m in community benefits over the lifetime of the project and invest millions into the local economy through the construction period. We will work in partnership with the communities surrounding the wind farm to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits for the local area.

How much will Lethans Extension generate in terms of community funds per year? 

As well as significant investment during the construction and operation of the windfarm, there will be a community benefit of £5,000 per MW per annum during the life of the windfarm. Based on current projections for the 10 turbines and the 252m tip height, this would translate into £300,000 per annum for the local community. We will collaborate with local people, community councils and the local authority to determine how this money is used to deliver meaningful impact

Will Banks try to give as many contracts as possible to local companies during the wind farm's construction and operation to ensure the local economy benefits?   

As part of our Connect2Renewables approach, we work together with local suppliers who will in turn employ local people to deliver their work during the construction and operation of the wind farm. At this stage the construction phase is 5 years away and some local jobs will be needed then. On the Kype Muir construction over 80% of the contracts were sourced locally.

Today, In our Connect2Renewables initiative, a portion of the community benefit fund is used to support local people into employment. If there is support for this continuing with the Lethans Extension development, we will look at how we might make that part of the planning application for this project.

What is the potential to support local people in gaining employment?

As part of our Connect2Renewables approach, we work together with local suppliers who will in turn employ local people to deliver their work during the construction and operation of the wind farm.  In addition, In our Connect2Renewables for Lethans Extension a £750k fund will be set aside  to support local people into employment.

This will be in addition to the £1.3 million that has been allocated from the Lethans consented project.

Can I have a job pls?  I am a dry stone waller.....

As part of our Connect2Renewables approach, we work together with local suppliers who will in turn employ local people to deliver their work during the construction and operation of the wind farm.  On nearby projects over 80% of the contracts were sourced locally. However, there are not many dry stone walling requirements on wind farms.

Part of our employability approach which we will develop in collaboration with the local authority and community we will look at how local people can be helped into employment.  The extension sets aside £750k for this initiative.

 

How many people will Lethans Extension employ during the construction phase? 

As the design is still being progressed, the construction details are yet to be confirmed. As part of the planning process, a construction method statement will be developed which will inform the scale of construction.

At this stage we anticipate the number to be around 100.  Local people will be actively encouraged to get work in the project through our connect2renewables initiative.

We are working today with the local authority and other partners as part of the Renewable energy employment taskforce to deliver employment for people in East Ayrshire into the renewables industry.  This will continue for the life of the project.

How many people will Lethans Extension employ when it is operational?  

Operational wind farms require only minimal permanent staff presence as part of the monitoring and maintenance procedures. The total number of staff is yet to be confirmed, however there are also a number of additional trades and professionals who visit the site periodically as part of the ongoing operation and maintenance of the wind farm during its life cycle.

Will local schools be able to visit the wind farm when it is built to learn about renewable energy? 

Once the wind farm is built and there is a safe environment for people to visit, Banks will invite local schools and other community groups to visit the site and learn about how a renewable project such as this takes shape and impacts the local and wider area. With each of our projects we plan to actively engage with young people to educate and inspire them to one day be involved with engineering projects such as this.

How can we be sure that our community council will be involved with the community benefit fund moving forward?

We can commit to continuing to engage with community councils during the development of the community benefit fund.  Given the early stages of development and the various stakeholders involved, we can’t commit to what the outcome of that will be at this point, however, this will be built around the situational needs of the local communities and the process of engagement.

We are interested in the outcome of the polls, if this was available can you share them with us?

We will post the results of the initial polls on the website once the initial design phase has completed.

About Banks

How many people does Banks employ

Banks Group employ over 250 people across its Renewables, Mining and Property businesses

Who owns the Banks Group? 

The Banks Group is a family owned, County Durham based, business employing 250 people across the north of England and Scotland. It was established in 1976.

The core values of our business are to undertake all our projects in a sensitive and careful manner, developing each site with sensitivity and consideration for people, the environment and the local economy.

Ready to give feedback? Click here or explore more about the proposal- Visual considerations, Environmental considerations, How we design a wind farm.

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